Polaroid (2019)

Director: Lars Klevberg
Writer: Blair Butler
Based on: Klevberg’s short film
Cast: Kathryn Prescott, Tyler Young, Samantha Logan, Keenan Tracey, Priscilla Quintana, Javier Botet, Mitch Pileggi, Davi Santos, Katie Stevens, Grace Zabriskie
Seen on: 11.1.2019

Content Note: sexualized violence

Bird (Kathryn Prescott) loves photography and works in a second hand shop after school. There her co-worker Tyler (Davi Santos) presents her with an old polaroid camera. Excited, Bird snaps a picture of him but realizes that there is a smudge in the picture – maybe the lens is damaged. A few hours later, Tyler turns up dead and it doesn’t take long for Bird to realizes that whoever is photographed with the camera dies.

I rather enjoyed the short film this long version is based on, but the full-length film, unfortunately, doesn’t quite convince. It’s not a complete loss, but maybe we should have all just stuck with the short film here.

The film poster showing a polaroid camera lying on the floor, in the process of printing out a picture.

The idea behind Polaroid is still really strong. But unfortunately the film loses itself in clichés way too quickly and doesn’t manage to really make a good story of the concept. Ultimately the tropiness hurt the film and its creepy atmosphere sucking out the tension of the movie. Why does she go in the attic? The scar on the neck was a little ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as the monster’s origin story here.

There were also a couple of plot holes. And I’m not necessarily one to go looking for inconsistencies in a film, but it’s always a sign of danger when you start questioning the film’s storytelling. And the questions just kept coming for me – like where were the parents of all those 16-year-old children? – signifying my disconnect and my inability to really suspend my disbelief.

Bird (Kathryn Prescott) hiding behind a door as she takes a picture of herself with the polaroid camera.

The film isn’t a complete catastrophe. At the very least it was rather entertaining and didn’t bore me, despite everything. And the thing with the oil lamp was pure comedy gold (and I’ll just keep assuming that this was done entirely on purpose).

But overall it just fell a little flat. It just never managed to move past the usual teenie slasher horror film stuff, despite the promise that the short film showed.

Kasey (Samantha Logan), Connor (Tyler Young), Mina (Priscilla Quintana) and Devin (Keenan Tracey) posing for a photo as seen through the camera lense.

Summarizing: meh.

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