Just when you thought it was safe from fucking found footage films, the world brings us yet another.
Surely this genre is dead in the water, tired and done with. Nobody asked for another, and indeed this was made six years ago. It took a few years to get noticed, meanwhile director Adam Robitel has progressed into mainstream franchise films such as the last Insidious venture, and Escape Room, plus its soon-to-be-released sequel. Like a deadly weed, this one has grown out from the cracks in the pavement, and is ready to be rediscovered. It’s getting some notice now, with good reason.
Where this film takes us is places that, without a powerful and realistic set-up, most viewers would sigh, and tune out. Fortunately it is more than merely a solid grounding, in fact you’ll believe these are real events, happening to real people. A lot of this is down to the performance of Jill Larson, she conveys a disturbing and disturbed woman with such gravitas that you are pulled in. In The Taking of Deborah Logan, our main character is an ageing woman with Alzheimer’s; we follow her descent as the illness steals her away from her daughter/carer. It is also very adept at showing what it takes to look after a relative who you love, but tests your patience to breaking point. The poignancy of witnessing a desperate situation is exaggerated by the way we are made a voyeur, along with the documentary crew who are filming the deterioration, and the effects, this illness has on a family.
People might forget how much impact The Exorcist had when it came out back in the 70s, audiences coming to it for the first time now think it’s a bit hokey and even laughable in places with head spins, pea soup vomit and that crucifix scene. However, the element that remains disturbing is the fact that someone is suffering, and they have to be examined to find out what the problem is. Needles, hospitals, surgical implements invading the body, all of this we will always find tricky to watch. Deborah Logan fits into this type of film, where you are grounded by a naturalistic look at how the psychological, and physical, interact in cases of medical investigation, and how it has a causal impact on everyone involved. If you like The Babadook, and similar films, you need to search this little gem out. There are a couple of images towards the end that will never leave you, effective and searing.