The trailer for POV — a low budget British horror feature film, directed by Richard Anthony Dunford — presents a handful of opportunities for viewers to get intimate with the palms of their hands. There will be a great many shock scares I presume, mostly involving zombies, or demons (as one character puts it over a phone call to the cops). They lurk in mirrors and in corridors, and the final portion of this trailer seems to suggest that they could be dwelling behind conveniently ajar doors that open out to, you guessed it, more corridors.
Here, I suspect, lies the potential for this film to blossom into something of a cross between horror video games, first-person shooting games, and horror movies. The idea is simple: We are in someone’s head, and so we see everything he sees. The technique of this film is simpler still: Attach what looks to be a GoPro to the head of our protagonist so that we limit the need for cumbersome camera movements as he stumbles around a very carnal house party. And it works. For the most part.
I am not a master of the GoPro camera, but I know enough of it to know that it shoots in an incredibly wide angle, which fish-eyes its images to dizzying degrees. This is perfect for landscapes, where the area is vast and the camera needs to pick up mountains in the distance, or trees peering in from the edge of frame. In an interior setting, however, glued to a man’s forehead, the camera is perhaps used wrongly. We as humans do not see in a wide angle. Our straight lines are straight, not curved. While watching the trailer, I got the sense that I wasn’t so much looking through a man’s eyes as I was looking through his eyes through a peephole.
A trailer can only tell you so much about a film. The rest needs to be discovered. We learn that the house party gradually becomes infected by zombies — or demons — and that our hero is left alone to make it from Point A to Point B without losing his head. While there is nothing new in this premise, it opens up room for immense tension; no one has the freedom to sprint away from oncoming danger in such a closed-in space. You either creep and risk wetting your pants, or you die, most probably by surprise. I am reminded of an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show in which Ellen had her crew members wander through a zombie-infested funhouse at Universal Studios. Zombies sprung out of every room and around every corner. Screams permeated the air. It’s the same with POV. The only difference is we don’t get to see what lurks behind the corner. A gun or a knife would come in handy. But then we’d probably be better off playing Left For Dead.