Jill (Caitlyn Foley) and Ian (Ian Duncan) are an adventurous, and overtly sexual, couple that enjoy living in the moment as they follow the inspirations of their respective artistic careers. She’s a struggling painter, and he’s a filmmaker currently focusing his abilities on recording their exploits. Things take a horror turn when the two break into an abandoned women’s hospital to scope out its possibility as a site for an art expo. Things go too far, tensions rise, and they discover that there is something in the hospital that will not let them ever leave.
‘SX_TAPE’ is an extremely well shot found footage film. It does not suffer from the plague of jerky camera movements that many other films in the genre seem to think of as necessary. It maintains an impressive realism in the way the camera is handled, creating an immersive experience that does not distract from the film’s plot.
The story is interesting and at times extremely unsettling, but it unfortunately has a tendency to feel uneven and slightly derivative when it really matters. Much of the movie’s horror and suspense are torn from the same cloth as the Paranormal Activity series. Plot twists and odd character development give the movie a weird progression that seems unnatural and at times forced. Similarly, while the acting is decent, none of the performances are consistent throughout and this tends towards a confusing chaos of plot development. The film’s conclusion does not bring much resolution to any questions the film raises as to what exactly is going on, and the final scene, perhaps the most disturbing, and likely the reason the film went unrated, creates a slew of further questions only to introduce the credit roll.
Despite its flaws, ‘SX_TAPE’ is a fairly entertaining film. It is found footage done right, with a plot both curious and scary enough to grab and keep attention spans. While the plot is mainly a play on the ‘Paranormal Activity’ type of found footage film, it does enough to distinguish itself as something more than a genre knockoff.