Another docu-style popularized by the Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, comes Chronicle, a disturbing movie about the misuse of powers.
High school students Matt (Alex Russell), Steve (Michael B. Jordan), and Andrew (Dane DeHaan), after a strange underground encounter, find themselves with telekinetic powers that they harmlessly use to entertain themselves, with Andrew chronicling everything with his camera.
What comes across as a seemingly paranormal movie no different from an X-files episode, Chronicle surprisingly takes a darker and more serious turn; we suddenly find ourselves watching a bullied and abused high school boy Andrew, who is the male counterpart of Carrie. And with trepidation, we know that abuse plus telekinetic powers equals to terrorist-in-the-making.
Because of the ominous, sinister undertone of the movie, magnified by its realistic camcorder treatment, the movie evokes unpleasant feelings the whole time. The guys' adventures from acquiring uncanny powers don't really provide a sense of thrill, because you somehow anticipate that something evil is escalating.
DeHaan was perfectly cast as Andrew, with his disturbed and menacing eyes-- an apt illustration of a high school outcast with an abusive home environment, his looks reminiscent of American high school shooters, with dangerously low self-esteem. He induces both sympathy and fear, efficiently frightening in his emotional suppression.
Directed by Josh Tank, Chronicle is your modern-day Carrie. Not exactly a teenage suspense flick, but a horror film that portrays the psychological and emotional make-up, as well as the moral compass, of an abused youth. It’s a commendable film in the sense that it effectively builds the Andrew character, the horror of what he can do with his powers escalating until the movie’s climax.
Effectively disturbing and depressing.
3 out of 5 stars
Opens February 2, 2012 in Philippine cinemas.