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The Tapes (2011)

The Tapes (2011) DVD coverDirectors: Scott Bates & Lee Alliston
Starring: Jason Maza, Arnold Oceng, Natasha Sparkes
Certificate: 15
Running time: 77 minutes
Release date: 23 September 2011

The Tapes is another pick from the never-ending slew of found footage films, although this one is British and tries to include a different slant on the whole theme.

We are introduced to our three main protagonists, Danny (Maza), Nathan (Oceng) and fame-hungry Gemma (Sparkes), as they drive around Whitstable in the middle of a cold, snowy winter. This is interspersed with a few “talking head” moments with the families of the three, looking upset and distraught. The youngsters are looking for the perfect location to film Gemma’s Big Brother audition tape. Of course, they film everything, not just when trying to video Gemma. Stopping to warm up in a local pub, they are asked to stop filming by a farmer who then leaves and drives away. The barmaid tells them not to worry about him as he is quite harmless and is actually a swinger.

So, the trio then decide to head to the farm where the man is supposed to live, under the proviso that they will witness a sex party. Their plan is to film the orgy and to sell DVD copies to make some money. When they arrive there’s no-one around, so they squeeze through the gate and start to look around, only to find the farm is nothing but a piece of wasteland, full of old caravans and outhouses with junk strewn around. Eventually the farmer returns and the youngsters discover that he has locked the gate tighter so they can’t squeeze through, leading them to hide in the outhouses. Later a few others turn up, who are mistaken for the swingers, including the barmaid. However, the three trespassers are then witness to what appears to be the build-up to a devil-worshipping sacrifice of a goat. They are then grabbed, one by one, to meet a sticky end.

There’s far too much wrong with this film. For a start, it’s boring – nothing happens for the first hour – and for a film that only clocks in at 77 minutes, that’s a big drawback. Even when the action does begin, there is little tension to be found. Also, it is hard to see why they couldn’t just escape earlier as one of the characters manages to run back to their car near the end in pitch darkness. There are a number of on-screen announcements that suffer from incredibly poor grammar and the whole project just seems poorly executed. This is a shame considering that the makers tried a new twist with the devil-worshipping instead of characters being chased by ghosts or invisible demons.

Overall, this really isn’t worth your time.

JD GILLAM

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The Tapes (UK)
The Tapes (US)

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