SOV horror films are getting quite the resurgence lately. So are found footage films. From what I can tell Americas Deadliest Home Videos is the original fount footage SOV film. Sorry guys, I don’t really count Cannibal Holocaust as a found footage film. A true found footage film really is a Blair Witch or even better August Underground.
Well all the way back in 1993 Americas Deadliest Home Videos was released on video. Sadly it did not take the world by storm. In fact it did nothing. Which is a real shame as it was light years ahead of its time.
Well fortunately for everyone with the rise of the Paranormal Activity films, which I hate by the way, found footage films started getting more and more recognition. And Luckily Camp Motion Pictures was able to acquire the rights to this long lost classic and put out a beautiful DVD release, and even a very limited VHS Release.
Americans Deadliest Home Videos stars my man Danny Bonaduce. Sadly it’s not the cool VH1 new and improved Danny Bonaduce, its his normal average 90’s counterpart. He plays a shlub of a guy named Doug. He has a cheating wife, who is actually played by Danny’s beautiful ex-wife Gretchen. He’s a camcorder enthusiast as most of us were back in the day. Carrying the big giant camera around recording everything in sight. One night he discovers his wife having sex with another man and decides to take a road trip with his camera.
While driving around and filming everything he sees he stumbles across a group of men, who unbeknownst to him are the Clint Dyer Gang. He video tapes them destroying the latest getaway car when they notice they are being filmed. Luckily the gang leader, Dryer doesn’t kill Doug. He decides to have him tag along and video tape all of their criminal activities. In fact he even has Doug participate in some of them.
This film is loaded, and I do mean loaded with over the top violence, and a fair amount of good old fashioned sleaze. The acting is very well done. If you have seen the trailer then yes it is meant to be humorous, but more of in an ironic dark comedy way, not a laugh out loud funny film.
I have always like Danny Bonaduce. He was never really given the chance he deserved at being a leading man in the late 80s and early 90’s and he shines here as Doug. If you have seen his reality show or even listen to his radio show you know he is a pretty bad ass guy. He didn’t get that way from VH1, he always was, so watching him play a nebbish with a cheating wife really is quite a stretch for him.
As I said this is one of the first found footage films out there, possible the first and the tone and setting benefit from the gimmick perfectly. Watching parts unfold via camcorder footage works better in this than in most any of the modern films out there. This film really did, and still does deserve to be held in high regard in the horror community, heck it should be held in high regard by the film community in general.
This one gets one of my highest recommendations for the sheer fun it is to watch, let alone how unique and ahead of its time it was/is. Pick this up now
Overall 4 out of 5 stars!