Warda Poster 1

WARDA (2014)

Having recently reviewed a Turkish found footage film, Dabbe: The Possession, I figured I’d try another international found footage effort. Warda, while sharing the theme of possession, is from Egypt rather than Turkey. And at 73 minutes it’s about half the length.

Warda (Nada Al Alfi) is the younger sister of our main protagonist, Walid (Farouk Hashem). She hasn’t been in good health, allegedly not sleeping at all since their father’s death. Their other sister, Faten, died several years earlier under mysterious circumstances. Circumstances that might have included being possessed.

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So Walid and his Tunisian born but raised in Holland girlfriend Amna (Samira Maqroun) head back to the small town he was born in to shoot a documentary on this odd activity. When so much starts happening that he can’t film it allall, they set up surveillance cameras. And, as we all know, this never ends well.

Warda has some interesting touches, including a bit of culture shock for its two leads, who are used to living in a more modern, Western city. Oddly, however, the location isn’t really played up, the film could be happening anywhere really. I was hoping for more of the local culture and folklore to be present in the script, the way films like The Nightshifter or Munafik 2 did.

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Director Hadi El Bagoury and writer Mohamed Hefzy seem to be more interested in making Warda into a film that could easily play internationally. In fact, Hefzy has producer credits on some Western films shot in Egypt, including another found footage effort, The Pyramid. The result is a fairly standard Paranormal Activity knock off but with more exotic scenery.

Taken for what it is, Warda isn’t bad, though it probably played a lot better in 2014 before the found footage genre became totally played out. Thankfully, it doesn’t take too long to move from shaky handheld to surveillance cameras. There’s the usual creepy footage, ineffective exorcist, etc. With it all building to an effective climax.

Warda is available on Netflix. It’s hardly essential viewing, but it’s certainly watchable.

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