A weekend getaway becomes a nightmare for a group of friends in this indie sci-fi thriller from director Mathieu Ratthe.
Ten months after a car accident resulted in the loss of their baby, video game editor Matthew Donovan and his wife Jess are ready for a weekend getaway with four friends to celebrate the birthday of one of the friends. Matt, who lost an eye in the accident, decides to place a camera in his glass eye so he can record the weekend. Matt and Jess pick up Matt’s best friend, birthday boy Joe; and his girlfriend Liz as well as Jess’s brother Trey and his new girlfriend Julia. The six head to Gracefield to stay at Matt’s boss’s cabin.
After an evening of fun, as the group relaxes out back, they discover a mysterious light flying towards above the cabin and lands in the forest. Matt and Joe decide to check it out. Matt find the crash site and finds a meteorite and takes it. Getting lost in the forest, Matt and Joe, with an overexcited Trey find a cavern and the trio soon learn they are not alone. Nearly attacked, the guys eventually make their way back to the cabin. However, the group soon find themselves under attack from something unimaginable and they must find out why and find a way to end the chaos.
Canadian filmmaker Mathieu Ratthe makes his feature film directorial debut after making three short films with the “camera angle” perspective film that is set with a weekend. However, while there are films such as The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield to name a few to use the found footage motif in film, Ratthe brings something different to the table.
The script starts out with Ratthe’s character of Matt and wife Jess in a car accident and it becomes a very powerful opening scene because it becomes a catalyst for Matt to do the unimaginable and put a camera in a glass eye to record their weekend getaway. However, the audience doesn’t just get Matt’s point of view from we also get the point of view from his best friend Joe’s new camera as well as some of the others’ cell phones.
The cast performs quite well in the film with Ratthe leading the charge as the troubled Matt, who still is reeling from the loss of his unborn child in the car accident and has a fear of loss as seen in a dramatic scene with his wife just before the chaos begins. As best friend Joe, Victor Andres Trelles-Turgeon brings concern to the film as he confronts Joe on a few occasions in both the main plot and his fear of loss. Kimberly Laferriere as Jess is the more hopeful of the core couple as she worries about Matt and his fear of loss again but has to confront him when he reveals something important. Alexandre Nachi and Juliette Gosselin play the overexcited couple Trey and Julia with the former seemingly reckless.
The special effects by Rodeo FX and Oblique FX are quite well done. Yes, the film involves an alien attacking the group after the meteorite crash lands near the cabin. There are also certain symbols that show up all over the place, from a broken window to cell phone interference. The piece de resistance of this film is that Ratthe decides to break the stereotype of these found footage style films in not one, but two ways that prove to be pivotal, essentially to the character of Matt.
The Gracefield Incident is a very good found footage film that brings something different in terms of elements and its climactic ending. Mathieu Ratthe truly proves himself well as both actor and filmmaker here. Definitely worth a look.
WFG RATING: B+
Momentum Pictures present a Matt Ratt production in association with EMBA. Director: Mathieu Ratthe. Producer: Mathieu Ratthe. Writer: Mathieu Ratthe. Cinematography: Yan Savard. Editing: Mathieu Ratthe.
Cast: Mathieu Ratthe, Vincent Andres Tulles-Turgeon, Kimberly Laferriere, Juliette Gosselin, Laurence Dauphinais, Alexandre Nachi.
Momentum Pictures will be releasing the film to select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on July 21.