The Fear Footage 2: Curse of the Tape Movie Review

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

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Written and directed by Ricky Umberger
2020, 74 minutes, Not Rated
Released on March 13th, 2020

There are no credited actors/actresses

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Horror has a heritage and a history, by God. There’s a spirit in the horror genre that’s not found anywhere else in entertainment (for what it’s worth, straight drama comes the closest). The old adage is “Necessity is the mother of invention”. That’s undoubtedly true, but it also shortchanges those who seek to contribute to the pantheon of the insane, evil, and illogical as something that’s purely a monetary means to an end.

Writer/director Ricky Umberger (The Fear Footage) is back with the follow-up to his noise-making 2018 found-footage anthology about a cop who goes to investigate a house that shouldn’t be, a house that was torn down years ago when a little girl murdered her entire family after watching a cursed video tape. In the original, the wraparound is Officer Leo Cole’s story of investigative horror via his body camera.

The Fear Footage 2: Curse of the Tape tells the story of Daniel, the man from the third segment of the original The Fear Footage. He sees some footage from the infamous cursed videotape that (of course) shows him. He doesn’t understand how this could be; he has no recollection of ever having gone through any of these events. Desperate for answers, he seeks out the only other person on the tape that he can identify – James, one of the storm chasers from the second segment. At first reluctant, James comes around and the two men journey to Darkbluff, Maryland, to find answers. What they uncover will melt away their sanity and leave you with more questions than answers.

I am definitely a fan of the original. Made on the ultimate shoestring budget of four hundred dollars, The Fear Footage manages to utilize the format to maximum effectiveness in creating a mythology that is both as believable as you can be in the genre while remaining inventive. The Fear Footage 2: Curse of the Tape reinvents itself as a straight found-footage horror film and completely eschews the anthology style altogether. While that’s not a bad thing, it is a departure from what you’re expecting from the first go-round. It’ll take you a minute or three to get into the groove of where this one is going, but stay with it.

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There are jump scares aplenty built on the tension that the handheld style that found-footage delivers, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There are some truly effective moments that, thanks to skilled directing and cinematography, rise far above the budget to provide a visceral reaction. In a pure two-man show that’s no easy feat, but both leads (who aren’t credited) pull it off pretty well.

That brings me to the other selling point: sheer fucking showmanship. I feel as if Vincent Kennedy McMahon would be proud of this had it been produced by his brain. The Fear Footage 2: The Cursed Tape goes for it in the same way that the original does – a simple website, no IMDB credits, no real info to be found save a release date. If you’re going to ape the classics (which this certainly does), then simply ensure that it’s done properly.

The third act alone is an assault on the senses, purely what you want to see in a found-footage flick to the point where even when the lack of polish shows it wins you over with heart. While it often lacks any characterization of sense of logic, it’s most certainly audacious…and audacious is the optimum word. Is it ultimately effective? Absolutely. Is it fully effective? No, but I’ll be gob smacked if it‘s not commitment personified.

There are many creepy moments during the scant 74-minute runtime. The whole bit with the piano is a highlight, and you won’t miss the nod to the original “Resident Evil” game with the visual on going down the spiral stairs. It made me want to spark up and be twenty-one again. No complaints here.

The Fear Footage 2: Curse of the Tape is pure meta-filmmaking from the opening frame. It’s one of those films that you absolutely must see the original to settle in and enjoy, so be warned in that regard. Still, it’s a fine addition to the subgenre and a lot of fun. Open your mind to the fun that ultra-low budget can be, warts and all.

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Movie: 2.5 Star Rating Cover

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Stuart D. Monroe
Staff Reviewer
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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