26 Jan 2014

Review - The Upper Footage (2013)

The Question is "is it Real or is it Fake?" But that's the Catch.

Director: Justin Cole
Running Time: 90 mins
Sub-Genre: Found Footage
Release: 2013

'THE UPPER FOOTAGE' is the first film experience of its kind. The film is an edited version of 393 minutes of recovered footage documenting a young girl's tragic overdose death and subsequent cover up by a group of affluent socialites. What started as a blackmail plot played out over YouTube, became Hollywood's biggest drug scandal, turned into a heavily controversial film property that was rumored to be held by some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Now, after playing itself out in the media for 3 years it is finally making its way to the public.

The Upper Footage (Upper) is a mind game, the whole "Is it real or is it fake" question that surrounds it burrows under your skin, so you are never quite sure what you are watching. But that's the beauty of it all. At first I found it boring and lifeless, but once the whole idea that you could possibly be watching an actual murder kicks in, you can't help but ponder over the idea with whether or not you should be watching this; and just why you haven't stopped watching it. I went into this with a clean mind, with the exception of the trailer which involved some very believable footage and literal footage that was proof that Upper wasn't a force to be messed with; but I didn't expect to come out of this mind blown or truly amazed, and I was right. I wasn't amazed, and I wasn't in total shock or awe, but it was effective enough to have me sit there after it had finished, thinking over and over of if what I just witnessed was real or not. That's how it gets you, not with flashy kills or camera jump scares, but with unfathomable and authentic terror.

After watching Upper and after a good long think about what I just watched, I hopped straight on Google to find out all that I could about this film and if it actually was real or not. SPOILER ALERT the film was fake, and was basically a unique marketing campaign for the film (which The Blair Witch Project had done before) which attracted the likes of Quentin Tarantino after Cole had released clips of drug scenes from this film to get the ball rolling and to get people talking about whether or not an actual death was being uploaded to Youtube. Cole was onto something here, and that marketing campaign caused a storm, basically putting the film on the map, both for good and bad reasons. Now, I am basing this review on my opinion after I had watched the film, and not after I had known that it is all fake; and how I felt after first watching it, was that I was deeply shocked.

Upper works best when you know and read as little as possible, almost like The Blair Witch itself, and another viewing would never be able to match that raw emotion captured from the first time you sat down in utter amazement at how realistic the events are, and with the combination of believable acting, accurate dialogue and slow burning intensity it would be impossible not to feel that way. The found footage sub-genre has really found its mojo again, and it is films like Upper and The Blair Witch Project that install hope into an audience, proving that it's not too late to redeem what the found-footage genre used to be all about, and that is pure raw terror.

VERDICT: Initially I found The Upper Footage to be tainted and boring, but once the tension starts and the thoughts of if what you are witnessing is real or not, it proves to be a thought-provokingly intense and ruthless terror train that proves that there is still a pulse in the found-footage genre.


  1. Very Cool review. I have not heard of this before. Despite your feelings about this. I still would like to check this out This is how you do a found footage movie

    1. Thanks Jason! please watch it, it's well worth it



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