REVIEW: The Break-In (2016)

IMDb poster

The following is a review of The Break-In, a Justin Doescher film.

I was recently approached online by filmmaker Justin Doescher, and asked to review his newest film, The Break-In. I was happy to do so, and so I sat down to watch his 72-minute long attempt at making a found-footage horror film, which takes inspiration from films like Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity.

The Break-In follows Jeff Anderson (played by Justin Doescher) and Melissa Joseph (played by Maggie Binkley), an expectant couple who lives in a townhouse complex that has been the target of numerous burglaries. 

I, honestly, am not a fan of this film, and I’ll explain why in the next section. But I want to say that I like what Doescher was going for with this film. There’s a story here, and the found-footage gimmick is one way to tell it. But it just didn’t work for me here.

If you aim for the found-footage horror genre, then I need your characters to explain why you are filming in the first place. And that explanation didn’t really come in a clear way. Sure, there is a moment in the middle part of the film where a police detective says that it was a good idea that he was filming, and Jeff Anderson does state that he wants to make a documentary for their child.

But that doesn’t explain why you would film yourself having dinner with your neighbors. There isn’t a real method to the madness, as it were. Also, the whole found-footage thing isn’t really used well consistently. Sometimes you see the point of view of an officer, sometimes you see a dream-sequence in the form of found-footage.

And I couldn’t get over how you are given this awful static noise whenever you transition from source to source, scene to scene, or from one angle to the next. Similarly, it isn’t really explained why the camera on the phone sometimes acts up in weird circumstances. Seeing as the film isn’t presented as supernatural, these things really bugged.

Finally, there is way too much exposition in this film. Entire scenes serve only to dump unimportant information on the viewer, and that really hurt the pace of the film. All in all, I thought this film was incredibly flawed, but the story is intriguing, and there are some jump-scares that may keep you entertained. But, ultimately, the set-up in this film didn’t lead to a satisfying, unpredictable payoff. The Break-In is available now on Vimeo.

4 out of 10

– I’m Jeffrey Rex