In 2018 writer/director Ricky Umberger came out with The Fear Footage. Footage recovered from the bodycam of a policeman who went missing apparently in a house that didn’t exist. Marketed without cast, credits or even an IMDB page at first it got a lot of attention. It even got me watching found footage films again. The fact it was a damn good movie didn’t hurt either. Now he’s back with The Fear Footage 2: Curse Of The Tape.
The first question from anyone who’s seen the original is going to be, how did he manage to make a sequel? The original is pretty self-contained, so I didn’t see an obvious angle. What he did was actually go meta in a way similar to Grave Encounters 2.
One of the characters from the original, Daniel Blanch, sees the film after a friend buys it from the website. It’s him on the tape, but he has no knowledge of it. Confused he tries to track down others in the tape, but due to the lack of credits, he only finds one, James Darven. They head to Dark Bluff, MD to investigate. Of course, they find unhelpful locals and strange phenomena.
The original Fear Footage was an anthology, however, The Fear Footage 2: Curse Of The Tape tells one story. Beyond that, though the formula remains the same. Opening and closing text about the footage’s origin. Creepy footage mostly shot at night. And several well-executed jump scares.
While staying almost entirely a two-character film. The Fear Footage 2: Curse Of The Tape does try to expand the world of the films a bit. Umberger seems to be building his own mythology centered around Dark Bluff, his version of H.P. Lovecraft’s Arkham.
On the downside, this also means the structure is more like a traditional found footage film. A couple of guys go investigating things they should know better than to stick their nose into. And end up in way over their head, frequently due to bad choices on their own part.
I mean if you were lost at night in a cemetery and found a house would you go in? You would at least stay out of the basement, right? Granted that does lead to one of the film’s more unsettling moments, but it’s still a boneheaded move. And these guys make plenty of them.
For a film with a budget of $900 according to IMDB, The Fear Footage 2: Curse Of The Tape looks good. It obviously doesn’t have to look polished but there’s always enough lighting you can see what’s going on. The dialogue is clear too, something that’s often an issue with ultra low budget films.
Of course, $900 doesn’t get much in the way of effects, but they’re not really needed. The Fear Footage 2: Curse Of The Tape gets by quite well on plot and atmosphere. And a lot of jumps, especially in the well-done climax which brings back a few friends from the original.
The Fear Footage 2: Curse Of The Tape raises a lot of questions about just what’s going on while answering just about none of them. I’m especially curious about one tangent that made me think of Phantasm. Hopefully, that’s one of the aspects they’ll go into in the next installment. And there deserves to be another one. I’m not big on franchises but if the films stay this good I’ll make an exception in this case.