By now many have grown tired of found footage movies. It’s easy to understand why a bit of fatigue has set in. In Evidence, at least there is a somewhat fresh angle, even if it eventually suffers from some of the same problems as others in the genre. It ends up being mildly intriguing but not entirely successful.
The action begins in the Nevada desert, some 70 miles outside of Las Vegas. Huge teams of law enforcement officials are working a large crime scene, gathering and bagging evidence and analyzing the area. After getting a glimpse of the crime scene we cut to a press conference. Detective Burquez (Radha Mitchell) informs the media that not much is known and there is little she can tell them. People are dead but she can’t say more. She promises to keep them posted.
Burquez then holes up in a room with Detective Reese (Stephen Moyer) and a tech guy. It’s a high-tech room with lots of computers and large monitors and fancy equipment. The detectives don’t have a ton to work with. We are told that there are two survivors (in addition to an unknown number of fatalities) but the bulk of the evidence available to them consists of three hours of camera footage.
Much of the video is damaged so the tech guy is on hand to manipulate it as needed. Burquez and Reese go through the footage minute by minute to try and piece together exactly what happened, who is dead, and who the killer is. The people in the video were traveling on a small bus from the L.A. area to Vegas when it crashed in the middle of nowhere. They stumble onto some abandoned buildings and attempt to get help. Unfortunately someone in a welder’s mask wielding a blowtorch starts killing them.
For a while Evidence is pretty compelling. We have no idea who the survivors are, so there’s some mystery there, and it teases out additional information just enough to keep viewers engaged. It spends just the right amount of time with the bus passengers before cutting back to the cops and moves along nicely.
But then it loses steam at about the halfway point and never fully recovers. The stretches between cutting back to the detectives grow longer and longer, and there are way too many scenes with characters running around in the dark, screaming hysterically as the camera shakes all over the place. It becomes irritating and dull. Characters also aimlessly wander around a strange place at night in the company of people they don’t know.
Making matters worse, it doesn’t redeem itself with a strong finish. The ending is way overblown and way too impressed with itself. You can tell by the music, camera angles, and stunned looks on the detective’s faces that the filmmakers really believe they have just shown the audience something profound and extraordinary. It isn’t all that special or anything we haven’t seen before. Rather than “holy sh&t that was crazy,” you’re more likely to think “wait, that’s it, that was dumb.”
Not a total wash, Evidence could have benefited from another round or two of script revisions. It’s a serviceable idea and it starts off well. However at a certain point you want the killer to be identified not because you are dying to know but because you just want it to be over already.