DIRECTOR: Aaron B. Koontz
WRITERS: Aaron B. Koontz, Cameron Burns
CAST: Christopher Denham, Nadja Bobyleva, Catherine Curtin, Chase Williamson, Noah Segan
SYNOPSIS: A veteran war photographer with PTSD sees imminent deaths in his developed photos, questioning his already fragile sanity and putting the lives of those he loves in danger.
GENRE: Thriller, Horror
REVIEW: It’s been a long time since I’ve had the opportunity to sink my teeth into something as engrossing as Aaron Koontz’s psychological thriller, Camera Obscura. I went in with low expectations, and found myself pleasantly surprised, which, in the grand scheme of things, is no small feat.
This intricate slow-burn follows the story of a combat photographer struggling with PTSD. In an effort to facilitate his recovery, his fiancé buys him a vintage camera, which shows its new owner gruesome visions of deaths that have yet to occur. He quickly finds himself in the midst of a grizzly puzzle where he must piece together the secrets of the camera in order to save those he loves.
Camera Obscura is unapologetically heady, and it was genuinely refreshing to see a film that doesn't dumb itself down for general consumption. It’s interesting, and does an amazing job of spurring your curiosity just enough to keep you engrossed, despite its relatively slow progression.
The acting was decent; an attribute which is discouragingly difficult to find in modern horror. The characters felt like people, and while the depiction of PTSD was a bit lacking in depth, the struggle of the protagonist’s family and friends in their attempts to help him is strikingly visible.
This is not the kind of movie that aims to terrify. There are few, if any, jump scares and the gore is neither gratuitous nor exaggerated. The imagery is simplistic, and feeds into those nightmares that most of us have already experienced at least once in our lives and while it might not come across obviously in the film itself, Camera Obscura offers more food for thought than a single passing glance may suggest. This is definitely a worthy addition to any time-based horror marathon.