Let's face it, the found footage genre has been done to death, to the point of films becoming exact clones of one another. I've honestly, for the most part, stopped watching them. Though, every once in a while one comes along that offers something fresh and exciting. When I found out that Unearthed Films had recently released Vincenzo Petrarolo’s Lilith’s Hell, I knew that I had to check it out and once again, Unearthed didn't let me down.
Lilith’s Hell is a mockumentary style a horror film in which a pair of filmmakers, Ryan (Marcus J. Cotterell) and Marco (director, Vincenzo Petrarolo), try to work with director Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust) to create an ultra-realistic film inspired by Deodato's cannibal classic. The duo, along with their cameraman Alberto (Federico Palmieri), arrive on set at Marco’s grandparent’s house in the countryside and things are immediately off to a rocky start. The arrival of actress Michelle (Manuela Stanciu) and her make-up artist Sara (Joelle Rigollet) makes things even worse as Ryan realizes that Marco didn't really put much effort into "producing" the film. The team decides to call it a night but are awakened by strange banging sounds throughout the house. They all investigate and find nothing...or so they thought. Michelle gets possessed and things spiral into chaos, leaving the crew running for their lives and trying to figure out what the hell is going on and how they're going to survive.
I'll stop there to avoid spoiling anything else. Some of you may write this off as just another failed found footage attempt and I'd have to say that assumption couldn't be more wrong. Vincenzo Petrarolo has created a very solid entry in the sub-genre. With only five main cast members, Petrarolo was able to develop them better and make me care about their characters to a certain degree. Except for Michelle, she was just a bitch. The cast did a great job with their roles and despite a few instances of over-acting, they gave very believable and intense performances. The special effects are better than what you'd expect from a low-budget film of this type and it does feature some rather terrifying scenes, including and exorcism that's one of the best I've ever watched.
Even if you're burnt out on the found footage genre, I still recommend that you give Lilith's Hell a watch. I believe that you'll find things to enjoy as I did. It may not win over new fans of found footage but it's a surprisingly powerful descent into a supernatural abyss.
You can order the DVD now from Unearthed films, which includes cast and crew interviews and an interview with the maestro himself, Ruggero Deodato.