A young couple decide to document their preparations for killing a stranger; the grisly murder and disposal of the body included. But, will they be able to go through with it?
Capture Kill Release brings a lot to the disturbing table of found footage as it follows a couple who plan to kill someone for the sheer hell of it. This concept alone is immediately disturbing as it poses the important question: why are they doing this? The story opts for an eerie open-endedness and never truly answers this significant question. There are only a few minutes of build-up to their hopefully perfect crime before we see the pair shopping in a hardware store for axes, rope, bleach and shovels. It’s a jarring shift from a lovey-dovey opening scene, showing that appearances can be deceiving and much like a modern day American Psycho, this regular couple are harbouring a deadly secret beneath their façade of normalcy.
There is an obvious exaggeration behind this story’s chain of events; but Capture Kill Release is perhaps an accurate representation of the lack of prospects for young people. House prices are beyond their reach, living in central cities is becoming increasingly difficult and having a degree is no longer as significant as it once was; millenials simply don’t have the future that seemed so easily graspable for previous generations. Whether it’s turning to drink on the weekends, splashing out on holidays or killing someone, we’d do anything to escape from the miserable reality that is life, even for just a few moments.
It’s a depressing and disturbing outlook, but Capture Kill Release has a comedic edge to ease the pain of its central story. The streak of dark humour is effortlessly woven, with the couple’s blasé attitude about killing becoming dangerously infectious. They read medical books to understand the human anatomy and discover important information, like crushing the victim’s teeth and burning the body’s fingerprints to ensure its identity is impossible to trace. You will feel uneasy laughing, but it is very easy to do so. The film’s most memorable sequences are the also the most uncomfortable; including a dinner scene with the couple’s new friend Gary and an awkward door bell ring from a woman looking for her cat. The film builds and builds with these alarming moments, before a catastrophic finale ensues that ensures we don’t crave to kill like this couple once did.
An overwhelming cover of realism chokes this film and makes its story all the more terrifying. The gore is brief, but incredibly realistic and sure to make even the most strong-stomached horror fiends feel a little queasy. The reality is further heightened with the found-footage filming style, which is used typically, but unlike so many films that opt for this aesthetic, Capture Kill Release manages to convince us of its need for hand-held camera usage. The couple want to document their journey like a twisted home video and it becomes no surprise to learn that Jennifer used to film cat torment when she was a child. She’s your typical psychopath, born and bred, and it is her that is the brain of this operation. Capture Kill Release puts the woman in charge and even though it’s an awful story to be the centre of, the film’s gender play is another way for the story to twist and turn.
Actors Jennifer Fraser and Farhang Ghajar lend their real names to those of their characters to heighten the idea of this film’s reality. They present a couple of convincing wannabe killers; Jennifer is particularly excellent and her description of choking her victim to death is probably one of the scariest things I’ve ever heard. Their performances are horrifically believable and as Farhang starts to have second thoughts about killing, Jennifer is given her time to shine in the monstrous moonlight. Her lack of remorse and empathy, as well as her desire to kill, become more terrifying than Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees, because she doesn’t wear a mask and wears her killer face proudly. She is the anti-Final Girl and the twisted serial killer who longs to kill for the scariest reason: no reason at all.
It’s rare to find a horror film that is genuinely quite disturbing, but Capture Kill Release will send shivers down your spine with its uncomfortably realistic and darkly comic approach to killing. With a couple of strong performances and a stone-cold, simple premise, this is the perfect recipe for an effective, unforgettable found-footage horror film.
Words: Jessy Williams (@JessyCritical)