It doesn’t happen often, but I am occasionally approached by filmmakers, offering me an opportunity to check out their work. I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly at this point, so I am always open to give someone’s newest project a chance without much hesitation. This time around, it was director Jed Brian’s Unlisted Owner on the chopping block.
A week after moving in, a family of five is murdered in their new home, adding to the notorious history of this particular property. Curious to see for themselves, a group of friends abandon their nearby campsite, armed with only a couple of handheld cameras.
It’s actually been quite a while since I’ve seen a found footage film. At one point, this sub-genre was one of my favorites, as I tried watching every single one that I could hunt down.
Eventually, as you would expect, I grew tired of the format, but don’t mind occasionally checking out a newer film which utilizes the technique made more widely popular by films like The Blair Witch Project and, of course, the Paranormal Activity franchise.
I’ve always stated that the found footage genre is a gift to independent filmmakers on a tight budget. There is no need for special lighting rigs or expensive camera equipment to set the desired tone. In fact, the more raw and “unprofessional” a movie of this caliber looks, the better the audience’s experience.
Unlisted Owner does utilize this technique very well, in turn, creating that spooky atmosphere that I’ve just mentioned. Writer and director, Jed Brian, seemed very aware of what he could and could not pull off on given his resources and played to those strengths (and weaknesses) very effectively.
Piecing together footage from five different cameras, Unlisted Owner tells the story of a group of young friends who are looking for a fun time, only to be thrown into the worst experience of their lives.
The cast is made up of unfamiliar faces and really does come off as a group of random teens goofing off and looking to get into a little bit of trouble. Generally, that type of “performance” would annoy the hell out of me, but again, in this particular format and setting, it works just fine.
Unfortunately, Unlisted Owner does feature a couple of the biggest jerks I’ve ever seen on screen. The characters Tyler and Gavin, played by Tyler Landers and Gavin Gloves, respectively, are extremely easy to hate. If I ever met anyone as obnoxious as either of these guys in real life, it wouldn’t take long for me to haul off and break their jaws; They would be the last two individuals I’d invite to my weekend campout, to say the least.
Because of these poor character traits, it made it pretty easy for me wish these guys a brutal and gory slaying. While they eventually did meet their demise, it was difficult to tell just how brutal they were.
Brian, again playing to his given budget, does use a lot of suggestion when it comes to the way his film’s victims meet their ends. Some are killed just out of frame and others are dragged off to God-knows-where by the unseen antagonist, leaving a lot to be desired in the kills department.
Listed on IMDb as a film from 2013, Unlisted Owner is a decent entry in the found footage sub-genre of horror cinema.
While it is only 73 minutes long, it does feel a bit longer due to its rather sluggish pacing during the film’s first two acts.
Too many juvenile pranks and the countless times we hear “Jed, put the damn camera away” makes it easy to hate some of the characters, but the end of the film tightens things up a bit.
Unlisted Owner does have a high body count, which will please some fans, but the off screen deaths may turn off others.
If you’d like to check our Unlisted Owner for yourself, it is available now on DVD and Blu-ray and can be purchased directly from the writer/director, Jed Brian, himself. It is also available to watch on Amazon Prime streaming, for anyone not particularly interested in owning a physical copy of the film.
It was a good effort, but not my favorite, leading me to give this one a final rating of 2 shots on the hood out of 5.