Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Every week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but each selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
Let’s get this out of the way: FUCK found footage. Seriously. Fuck it. Drill a hole in its forehead and fuck it. Enough is enough. From now on, any found footage movie I recommend will start off with the initials “FFF” to save time.
Once you get past the trite, completely bland found footage convention, The Frankenstein Theory (Netflix, $3.99 Amazon), is a more or less competent little suspense/horror movie that falls just short of doing several very cool things. One commendation you don’t often see in horror: this movie gets much, much better as it goes. The worst part is the very beginning, when pretty boy John Vankenheim (hmmm what does that name sound like?) monologues to an off-camera interviewer about his academic credentials. “Oh, la la la, just Oxford and Columbia, no big.” He’s by far the worst part of the movie, which is too bad since he’s in virtually every shot. If the goal is showing a character entirely consumed and ultimately undone by his obsession, maybe don’t cast a gorgeous, pouty 20 year old with a four-inch hipster pompadour.
Where the movie goes seriously right is in its treatment of the original Frankenstein story, which is so completely different from the way the Universal Pictures version played out it’s almost unrecognizable. Remember how the monster was really just a sensitive soul who just didn’t understand how to interact with humans, resulting in the death of a little girl and the wrath of the angry townsfolk? Yeah, never happened. Victor Frankenstein was an asshole who abandoned his creation shortly after giving it life. The monster, after learning language and observing human behavior, actively chose to be evil. While he had a legitimate gripe against Victor, the monster willfully slaughters a buttload of innocent people, some of them helpless children, just to get back at its creator.
The main crime of The Frankenstein Theory (other than FFF) is that it doesn’t explore this theme fully enough. You get the sense that John’s belief in the monster’s humanity will be rewarded in unexpected ways, but more could be done. Still, you don’t get a lot of modern day Frankenstein derivatives, and this one is certainly worth the (free) price of admission.
One final complaint: when the box art shows the monster more fully than the actual money shot in the movie, somebody needs to be fired.
Added bonus: holy fuck, cinematography much? Maybe they bought a garage full of stock footage but it seems more likely the crew actually got a lot of those breathtaking tundra shots on location in the arctic. Stunning, I believe, is the word.