I recently went shopping at McKay’s with some friends in search of some movies for future articles. We went straight for the horror section of the movies area, and as two of us grabbed films based solely on their names or their cover, we had one of us pull up the reviews to make sure they were worth our time. We grabbed quite a few, but this week’s film stood out for its lack of quality.
“Bryan Loves You” is a movie that led me through a roller coaster of emotions, though not in the way that the creator intended. When I put in the DVD, I was forced to sit through a long string of advertisements before I could even access the main menu. By the time the movie finally began, I already knew that I would dislike the film, and the opening scene only cemented that point.
The film opened to a man explaining that what we were about to watch was severely disturbing and that we should know where the exits are in case it is too much to handle. While I don’t hate this trope, as I know many movies that have pulled this off well, I hated how awfully executed it was. Just a man with a bad mic attempting to act into the camera while sitting too far away.
The best way to pull off this sort of thing in a found footage film is to just have it be a short text that flashes up for a few seconds at the start of the film, not a multi-minute long scene like in this movie.
This type of opening is also an incredibly bold statement to make. If you start like this, I expect there to be some actual horrifying stuff in your film, and failing to do so only makes me disappointed and wonder why you even included the warning in the first place.
As I said before, this movie is a found footage film, but I use that in the loosest term possible. See, a normal found footage film restricts itself to one or two cameras in order to make it believable as something that was just happened upon, but this film fails to do that.
I guess they just really wanted some shots that couldn’t be done on a handheld rig, but a good portion of the shots are from the many security cameras throughout the town. This would make sense if they offered some explanation as to how this footage was obtained, but several times it makes no sense that there should be cameras where they are in the first place, let alone that the footage is available.
The first portion of this film showed some real promise.
A man and some friends were investigating a strange cult in the town, sneaking into events and trying to understand what was going on in the town. It had some genuinely good moments, and we found ourselves excited to see where the rest of the movie went.
And then it jumped the shark.
At first, it slowly started losing our interest by having plot points that didn’t make any sense and situations that were implausible, but then they sent the main character to the asylum.
Never have I seen a film fail to accomplish anything so wholly as this movie did in its asylum part. They kept trying to hint at interesting ideas about insanity or corruption, but it was completely ruined by lackluster acting and an absolute desert of entertainment.
It was so hard to pay attention during the asylum part. It was boring beyond belief. Nothing was happening, and what little did happen, was so badly done that I couldn’t think of anything but how much I hated what I was watching. I found myself more interested in the patterns I saw in my carpet than what was happening on screen.
At one point, the protagonist is being punished by being placed in solitary confinement and tied to a bed. He never once fights against his restraints, despite being very quick to anger in all of the other asylum scenes. He just lays there in an unrealistic position until he is let go.
I think my biggest gripe with the asylum is that none of it matters. Sure, he’s there, and some stuff happens, but it doesn’t affect the story that was being built up before he entered. It’s confined and only giving us a glimpse at the character’s emotional state, but considering how hard it is to care about the character, it just kind of falls flat.
I rate movies from 10 to -10, with negative being so bad it’s good. This movie would be a -7 without the asylum part, but because its such a big part of the movie I have to give it a -3. I feel like watching this movie was a waste of my time, even with the enjoyment I got from the earlier parts of the film.
It really goes to show just how important characters are for a good film. It’s what separates movies that feel amateur from ones that feel professional. Good characters played by good actors can do amazing things for how immersed the audience is in the movie experience, and without either of these, it will always just feels insincere.
This article was originally written for The University of Tennessee’s Daily Beacon’s Bad Movie Showcase.
Editing done by Evan Newell