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Case 347 Main

Case – 347 Movie Review

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

Released by TriCoast Worldwide

case 347 poster large

Written and directed by Chris Wax
2020, 85 minutes, Not Rated
Released on March 3rd, 2020

Starring:
Maya Stojan as Mia Jansen
Chris Wax as Charlie Cera
Jason Kropik as Rex McDunn
Richard Gilliland as Gustaf Berchum
Shawn-Caulin Young as Siggy Berchum
Gabriela Garcia as Sophia Luna
Michael Galante as Alejandro Luna

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Review:

As Horror DNA’s resident found-footage nut, Case – 347 was bound to end up on my screen. As a lover of alien horror, this was not only inevitable but anticipated. Growing up, I devoured a steady diet of Whitley Strieber (Communion, Transformation). I have a fascination with alien films as well – I’ll argue to the death the merits of the criminally underrated The Fourth Kind or the lovably goofy Stephen King tale, Dreamcatcher. I’ve secretly hoped that we’d get some Independence Day action for real since the movie came out in 1996.

In short, I’m a fan of the greys.

For this foray into the land of our little bug-eyed friends, Case 347 tells the story of Dr. Mia Jansen (Maya Stojan; Castle), an abnormal psychologist who aims to make a documentary disproving alien abductions as a form of willing group psychosis. She’s aided by two cameramen, Charlie Cera (writer/director Chris Wax) and Rex McDunn (Jason Kropik; Easy A). Mia is actually driven by the madness and disappearance of her father, himself a UFO enthusiast who warned her to stay away from his work before disappearing two years before. Naturally, she ignores that advice and returns to his home to use his “ravings” as the groundwork for her thesis. What she discovers in the American Southwest will challenge her long-held beliefs. Once an old colleague of her father arrives, however, she finds herself in the middle of a mystery that may alter the course of human history.

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Case – 347 follows the structural template laid forth by The Blair Witch Project (especially in the final 15 minutes), but that isn’t to its detriment. There are plenty of cases where found footage films try to get a little too tricky and miss the mark, proving that sometimes the K.I.S.S. formula (Keep It Simple, Stupid) that we learned in school is the best way to go. That basic approach allows Chris Wax and company to focus on the things that make a quality found footage film: believable performances, well-placed beats that build the tension, and a suspension of disbelief.

The writing is smart and engaging. Both the twists that keep you hooked (Sophia’s nasty surprise) and the unexplored theories (alien abductions leading to rare cancers) will make your head spin just a bit with the possibilities. There are tropes galore (like the diner scene presenting the proverbial “harbinger of doom”), but even that scene comes with a later twist involving said harbinger. Case – 347 doesn’t waste time getting down to it while still managing to hold some of its cards close to the vest; another sign of solid writing.

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While Case – 347 certainly doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to the found-footage genre, it does all the necessary things right and maintains that creepy reality that the best alien abduction stories do. Maya Stojan is excellent throughout; her passion and heartbreak at the prospect of possibly giving up the investigation are legit. Richard Gilliland chews up scenes with eerie calm as Dr. Gustaf Berchum, providing a balance to the growing chaos.

With many memorable scenes, classic paranormal horror elements, damn solid performances, and plenty of food for thought, Case – 347 should take a well-deserved place in the pantheon of alien abduction horror and found-footage films. At the very least, it’ll make you think next time you see a ring in the sky…

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Grades:

Movie: 4 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
Stuart D. Monroe
Staff Writer
Stuart D. Monroe is a man of many faces – father, husband, movie reviewer, published author of short horror, unsuccessful screenwriter (for now), rabid Clemson Tiger, Southern gentleman, and one hell of a model American who goes by the handle "Big Daddy Stu" or "Sir". He's also highly disturbed and wears that fact like a badge of honor. He is a lover of all things horror with a particular taste for the fare of the Italians and the British. He sometimes gets aroused watching the hardcore stuff, but doesn't bother worrying about whether he was a serial killer in a past life as worrying is for the weak. He was raised in the video stores of the '80s and '90s. The movie theater is his cathedral. He worships H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. When he writes, he listens obsessively to either classical music or the works of Goblin to stimulate the neural pathways. His favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead. His favorite book is IT. His favorite TV show is LOST.
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