“Found” is a unique film. On one hand, it’s a coming-of-age drama about a young boy trying to overcome the everyday life of being bullied and only having one friend. On the other, it’s sort of a horror film, as the boy discovers that his brother is a serial killer. These two genres don’t really sound like they would go hand-in-hand, but, for the most part, they do. I just kind of wish the film wasn’t so vulgar in its display of violence.
Violence is usually not something with which I have a problem. But “Found” loves to spend its time grossing out the audience more than it does moving along the story. And the viewer notices that when the boys watch a film called “Headless,” which features its killer decapitating his victims and then doing some vile things to their heads. While “Headless” is not actually a real film – not yet, anyway – it takes the viewer out of the moment and becomes something that is suited more for one particular type of audience – those who love their gore.
The film tells the story of Marty (Gavin Brown), a fifth grader who stays out of trouble; gets good grades; and has an obsession with horror films. But he doesn’t get along with his parents that well; he’s constantly bullied at school; and he discovers that his older brother, Steve (Ethan Philbeck), is a serial killer.
Now, Steve and Marty get along – both have a love for horror films. Steve says he would never harm his brother, but it seems like he does have dreams of doing harm to their parents – both of whom are filled with hate and racism.
Brown and Philbeck are both newcomers to the world of acting. Both show some signs of struggle in their roles, but there are moments where they also excel. But once Marty starts having visions of his brother doing heinous crimes, “Found” almost becomes unwatchable.
First-time director Scott Schirmer makes it more about the horror aspect of the film and nothing else. Schirmer does give the film a nice look, especially on a low budget. And film fans will have a nice nostalgia flashback when the boys go to rent horror films at a store that only has VHS tapes. But “Found” has trouble in determining whether it wants to be more of a gorefest or more of a drama with horror-like aspects.