Ryan (Ryan McCoy) turns up at his pal Brett’s house, filming every event on his trusty digital camcorder. Brett (Brett Rosenberg) is about to embark on his first ever camping excursion and Ryan wants to make a documentary about the experience.

The boys hire out a camper van, picking up Ryan’s girlfriend Abi (Abigail Richie) and her friend Ashley (Ashley Bracken) on the way. The foursome then set off into the Pennsylvania forest looking for adventure.

Pitching their tents in the middle of the hills, the group enjoy light banter and a few drinks as the sun gradually goes down. Come nightfall, they’ve gathered around their campfire so that the boys can encourage the girls to share a lesbian kiss for the benefit of the camera. Ryan later dresses in a gorilla outfit to give his friends a scare. More frightening though are the strange wails they hear shortly afterwards, coming from deep within the woods. The youngsters put these down to local coyotes and make it through an otherwise largely uneventful night.

The following morning, more gentle pranks ensue as the group hike across the hills to survey their surroundings. Suddenly the girls spy a black shape stood motionless in the distance. Ryan assures them it is a bush … until it leaps into life and scarpers from view.

Oh dear. Brett isn’t enjoying his maiden camping trip one bit: he’s injured his ankle and now he’s really freaking out. He wants to go home but Ryan insists the group persevere, both with their experience and with his aim to capture the whole thing on camera.

Another evening draws in and more wailing can be heard in the near distance. The girls reach breaking point the morning after when they discover Brett to be missing and their camper van to be trashed. Ryan leaves them with the camera as he races off into the forage in search of answers …

Shot shakily on a single handheld camera, EVIDENCE begins like so many other entries in the over-crowded ‘found footage’ sub-genre. Specifically, there is a strong whiff of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT about the initial set-up. Kids alone in the woods; the trees around them having had things like "Did you hear that?" and "Listen" tauntingly carved into them; noises in the night: we’ve been here so many times before.

Throw in a low budget and economic storytelling (natural lighting; outdoors action; small cast; short running time [75 minutes]), and you have a film that at first appears to be sticking awfully close to an extremely tired template.

But it pleases me to report that EVIDENCE, written by McCoy, is worth staying with. The characters are better developed and more likeable than most, while the naturalistic performances pay off. The balance of humour and horror is straddled capably, assuring the tension really does mount when required to.

Best of all, the final third of the film is entirely unexpected. It does strongly recall a certain video game by this point, but to divulge any more would be spoiling the surprise.

Minor gore, an escalating atmosphere of terror and a convincingly subtle, clue-strewn build-up to the histrionic climactic scenes mark EVIDENCE out as a satisfying deviation from the norm. Director Howie Askins demonstrates the talent to go on to bigger and better things.

Showbox’s region 2 DVD gives us EVIDENCE uncut in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The picture is anamorphic and looks very good considering its digital origins. Colours are stable and flesh-tones appear natural throughout, while textures are as sharp and clean as you’d expect. The picture does occasionally wobble, stagger and drop out, but this is all as intended by the filmmakers: the manipulated look of other handheld films such as [REC] is adhered to here.

English audio comes with 2.0 and 5.1 options. Both offer impressive playback.

The disc opens with a loud, animated main menu page. From there, a static scene-selection menu allows access to the film via 14 chapters.

The only extra relating to the main feature is its original 98-second trailer. This does a good job of avoiding hints of the big reveal.


If you’re sick to death of the ‘found footage’ horror sub-genre, EVIDENCE may just present you with a glimmer of hope. It’s actually a good little film.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Showbox
Region 2 - PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review