Andrew (Dane DeHaan) comes from a difficult family situation, with an abusive father (Michael Kelly) and a dying mother, and his only real social contact is his cousin Matt (Alex Russell). But other than that, he seems to be a rather normal teenager. That is, until he, Matt and Matt’s friend Steve (Michael B. Jordan) stumble upon a mysterious thing in a hole in the ground. Shortly afterwards, they discover that they develop telekinetic powers. And since teenagers are, well, teenagers, things soon get out of hand.
Found footage movies can go so wrong so quickly and I usually don’t like them a whole lot. Fortunately, Chronicle doesn’t fall into that category. Tough the ending gets a little out of hand, it is a really cool film.
They did cheat a little bit with the format (for example, when the first camera is lost, the tape would have been lost with it), but that – and Andrew’s obsession with telekinetically moving the camera (very smoothly) – did actually help the watchability of the whole thing, so I’m not complaining about that at all.
The movie does have it’s weaknesses: Casey as a character was obviously only introduced so that there would be a second camera in play and that remains all the depth she gets; the ending felt a bit long and was a bit too much; from time to time the special effects were notably cheap.
But other than that I really did enjoy it a lot: I was completely invested into the characters and the story. I was actually surprised by how much.
The performances from the three main guys (and Michael Kelly) were absolutely fantastic, especially Dane DeHaan. And the characters were really well-drawn and felt very real: I know/knew teenagers like that. It also proves my theory that secretly, most teens are psychopaths who learn to hide that about themselves. When they succeed, they’re adults. [I’m only half kidding about this.] And from that starting point, the story develops quite naturally.
Summarising: realistic superpowers and found footage format done right.