Updated: Jul 26, 2022
Back when The Blair Witch came out in 1999, found-footage horror films became the rave. So many studios wanted to produce found-footage style films, some with more success than others. This spawned some of the longest running film franchises such as the Paranormal Activity franchise. However, as more films came out, the found-footage genre began to lose its edge, and in the early 2010s, the genre all but seemed obsolete. Recently, the genre has seen a resurgence in the hands of independent filmmakers. Does 2022’s The Flock make that cut?
The film revolves around two trios as they explore the existence of a Satanic cult known as The Flock who’s lead by the enigmatic Crow. One trio are two demonologists V (played by Natalie Hurt) and Danny (played by Chris Thigpen) along with a captured camera operator who was investigating The Flock. V and Danny seek to summon the demon Moloch who will ravage the Earth. Meanwhile, another trio, a group of mercenaries calling themselves the Holy Trinity, comprised of a father looking for his son (played by Will Wicks III), and two others, follow the first trio so they can kill Crow and destroy The Flock.
Movies like The Flock and Robert Livings’ Infrared do what found-footage style films should do: keep the whole film shot in a first person camcorder. The reason why most found-footage style films, such as the later Paranormal Activity sequels and The Visit failed was because they kept cutting from the shaky first person point of view to a studio third person shot. This is not how you do found-footage and takes viewers out of the experience. I don’t know about you, but when I expect to find a found-footage film, I don’t expect third person shots from a studio camera. By having the whole film shot in a shaky first person point of view, not only can the audience better relate to the situation, but they feel more immersed throughout the film.
The Flock was made on a budget of $3,500, and for a small budget, I have to say it did a good job making the most out of it. I really appreciated how the film cleverly uses first person to make the viewers feel as if they were directly going through the experience with the characters. Besides the cinematography, I liked how The Flock uses real abandoned locations for the majority of the film. This not only helps with the immersion, but it increases the horror aspect as you don’t know what’s lurking around the corner. While some aspects of the film could have been done better, such as the design for Moloch, I didn’t think they broke immersion for me.
What I wished the film did better is to have a more focused plot and main character or group that we could follow. The Flock has the viewers following two groups and I was confused as to which one we should relate to or sympathize with. Are we supposed to relate to V and Danny? Because I found myself sympathizing with The Father in the mercenaries group who was searching for his son kidnapped by The Flock. Also I felt that the plot was a bit unfocused, especially with the limited runtime. As the film went on, I had trouble discerning whether The Flock as a cult were truly evil. However, that is likely the intention of the film by making you question how bad they really are.
As a whole, the film is well acted. Out of the whole cast, the cult leader, Crow, was the best of the bunch in his performance. Patrick Liberatore really sold me as a crazy cult leader who tries to be the second coming of Charles Manson, by keeping a harem of women and promotes getting high and having orgies. Additionally, the kidnapped camera operator did a good job acting as the audience surrogate following V and Danny. He reminded me of Ethan Winters from Resident Evil VII in many ways, as Ethan, like the camera-op, was our introduction to the events of the story. On the side of the mercenaries, I liked Trinity’s chemistry with Son. The two come across as having a sibling-like relationship that was wholesome.
Despite a few flaws with the film, I can safely say that The Flock is another solid inclusion in the list of new found-footage style horror films. It does a good job in production design, acting and cinematography. Unlike a lot of horror films that rely too much on jump scares, The Flock feels more atmospheric, as if the feeling of danger was on the horizon. Combined with an effective and likable cast, we get both a frightening and engaging film!
Co-Written by: Owen Gonzalez