★★★★ | The Kaos Brief
Meet Skylar (Drew Lipson), his twin sister, Dakota (Charlie Morgan Patton) and their boyfriends Corey (Marco DelVecchio) and Tren (Akanimo Eyo). The foursome decide to go for a romantic camping weekend to find themselves and be at one with nature, in the wilderness. It’s a chance for them to unplug and unwind. Except Skylar, an up and coming Vlogger, has brought what seems like an entire Apple store with him. He has his iPad, iPhone, Macbook and a footage drone. He’s also bringing his YouTuber followers with him, whom he keeps updated with his every move. Despite the seclusion of their surrounding in the middle of the woods, they are not alone.
After a disturbed night in the middle of nowhere, they are woken by strange lights in the sky and they become the hunted. What they uncover (which they film) was found, by an activist organisation called KAOS, they allege, in the mass data dump by Edward Snowdon and now the Government wants to cover the whole thing up.
The Kaos Brief brings a super cool edge to the found-film genre and its millennial cast means that the constant filming and the documenting of their lives feels completely natural and genuine. After all, they are all friends, who are hanging out, recording their lives for the world to see. It’s the horror movie for the Snapchat, Facebook Live, Periscope generation.
It allows filmmakers to squeeze so much more from their budgets, without it impacting on the overall sheen of the production values. Much of the footage was shot on the actors’ iPhone cameras and the director, J P Mandarino uses CCTV footage to good and unnerving effect.
Oh yes and the gay bit. What the producers have managed to do, in which so many other films that have gay characters in principle roles have failed, is that The Kaos Brief is not a “gay” film. It’s a film that happens to have a gay character in a lead role – and that’s totally refreshing.
During a press conference, I asked about the decision to make a lead character gay and whether the producers thought that it could be a barrier to mainstream audiences, Executive Producer Aaron Kuhl said that as the LGBT community became more and more mainstream and audiences had become more and more accepting, the barrier wasn’t that there were gay characters in it, it was possibly that the film wasn’t gay enough!
That aside, The Kaos Brief is a brilliant example of how to make a mainstream film, with gay characters and where sexuality isn’t the main strand of interest.