Recently I joined a found footage movie group on Facebook. I usually stay away from FB groups since they always seemed to be just a place where people attack each other on their opinions and talk crap, but I was bored and thought I would try it out. After a week or two, I found out that a lot of first time movie makers will post their teaser trailers and shorts in this group. Shawn Robinson asked if he could get some reviews and feedback on his first feature movie entitled Life With Belle.
I’m always up for something new and I’ve seen more than my share of found footage horror movies over the years so I volunteered. Immediately, it starts with cop cam footage of July 18th and the police responding to the Starnes family residence, young Annabelle is missing and the rest of the family is deceased. No answers are found, so police decide to release the footage leading up to the night of Belle’s disappearance to see if anyone has any additional information.
Now, up ’til this point in the movie I was thinking “here we go again,” having seen the cop cam footage shtick so many times. This is where Life With Belle really hooked me in. Generally speaking, children in horror movies just don’t work for me. The two leads, Annabelle and her younger brother, Link, are amazing (both first time actors). They are totally believable and they make you care even more about what is going to happen to them as the movie progresses.
Life of Belle picks up a week before the cop cam footage. We find out that the father is leaving on a business trip and he installs a surveillance system in the house so he can monitor his family while he’s gone. In addition, he gifts a camera to Belle for her birthday so she can practice for her future YouTube channel. The first half of the movie is basically the kids doing what kids do with some minor clues indicating the darkness that is on the horizon for this family. Even during these seemingly innocuous events, the director makes the viewer feel uneasy and, at some points, downright freaked out.
Throughout the 73 minute runtime, Life of Belle messes with your head big time! It has you looking in the corners of the frame looking for someone or maybe something moving around. The last half hour of this movie is where the pedal hits the metal; It cranks up the creepiness to 11 (spinal tap reference).
Life of Belle is all around a must-see. I can’t believe this was this director’s first movie. There is excellent camera work, the cast is awesome, and the story is simple… simply creepy as hell. If I had a gun to my head and was forced to give a criticism, I guess I would have liked to have more backstory about the mom. Other than that, I LOVED THIS MOVIE!!
Currently, Shawn Robinson is working on getting a distribution deal (hopefully Tubi or POV Horror will pick it up). If you are a fan of found footage, you should watch this when it comes out.