“My brother keeps a human head in his closet. Every few days he gets a new head.” A young boy walks into his brother’s room and pulls a pair of plastic gloves from the back of his jeans. He pulls out a bowling ball bag with a human head inside. That certainly grabs your attention and that’s what the film FOUND wants to do.
FOUND is the story of 12 year old Marty, who knows that his brother is a serial killer. There is no discovery, as I have said, this is clear the moment the film opens. Marty spends time in his brother Steve’s room when he isn’t home. Keeping a pair of rubber dish gloves on him, he constantly goes into the closet to ogle the latest decapitated trophy. His school life is difficult as he has only one friend and is the object of bullying from other students.
Not only that, but Steve is constantly verbally attacked by their parents, which creates an uneasy feeling throughout the house. Yes, life for Marty isn’t all that great. Things, as bad as they are, only escalate when Steve finds out that Marty knows about his hobby, setting the brothers on a journey towards a bloody resolution.
I’ve heard about this film for some time but I wasn’t sure it was as powerful as people said. Well I can honestly say that not only is the film good, but it definitely goes the hardcore route, but in the appropriate places. HEADLESS, the film within a film is unrelenting to the point where it would be absurd elsewhere, but within the context and bleakness of FOUND, it works perfectly. It is so violently and sexually charged that it is almost unwatchable but much like a train wreck, you can’t help yourself. FOUND is a quiet film, much like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, where the day to day tension mounts till it culminates in a hail of blood and gore.
Some scenes linger just a little too long, but in a good way. The result is unsettling and builds the tension. FOUND has something just below the surface all the way through. The film is not squeamish, but it only shows you what it needs to, allowing your brain to work its magic, creating a truly horrific nightmare that can’t easily be erased.
The production design is top notch, each boy’s room feeling authentic and lived in. A nice touch visually are the movie posters including Popcorn, Without Warning, Wild Zero, and The Taint (the less said about that one, the better), that decorate the walls of their rooms. Intentional or not, the titles and/or plots elude the action unfolding.
Gavin Brown and Ethan Philbeck are at the center of the film and do a fantastic job. Gavin Brown as younger brother Marty is great. His performance is subtle and real. He never crosses the line into dumb or annoying kid territory and that alone is a revelation. Ethan Philbeck as older brother/serial killer Steve turns in a perfectly subdued performance. He is never evil or crazy, he is simply who he is. Their home life and Marty’s school life brings to life the traumas that can push someone over the edge without ever feeling unrealistic or extreme.
All this along with excellent and meaningful direction by Scott Schirmer helps to make FOUND the excellent film it is. As I have said, the film is quiet, but not weak. I recommend it to anyone looking for some truly disturbing entertainment.