Just in Case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the newest trailer for reference:
To be fair, there’s nothing exactly new here, first person shots have been used for sometime. Going as far back as Dark Passage (1947), Psycho (1960), Halloween (1978). It’s been used here and there over the years, but more often than not it was only meant as another piece to build suspense and not the focus of a film. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t effective, but it’s nowhere near as ambitious as Hardcore Henry (2016) is. There’s also the found footage genre, tons and tons of POV video games, music videos, the list goes on and on.
Here’s the thing though, this isn’t based on a game. That’s a good start. It means it doesn’t have a legacy of expectations attached to it. Doom (2005), just ugh. You can’t help but make the association to POV games though. Those games have been around for decades at this point, so we’re becoming acclimated to the storytelling aspect of first person perspective in that arena. All of this paves the way for a movie to be made in this POV style.
Then there’s found footage. There have been very few Action based films done in a found footage style, so horror really rules this genre! Maybe Cloverfield (2008) as an action movie? There is just no shortage of this kind of film though. The found footage genre really took off after Blair Witch (1999). Yes, it’s been around for some time before then. Cannibal Holocaust (1980) anyone? Really though, Blair Witch brought it to the mainstream. The one problem I’ve had with found footage films though is, who gets a hold of the recordings? Sure there’s always some hokey explanation, but it always seems to be an afterthought to the process. Irritating.
Hardcore Henry is clearly something different. It really puts you in the hot seat! It fully tells the story from one characters perspective. So this brings up the question, what else can be done in this style? Dear god the possibilities are endless! Can you imagine an entire movie done from the perspective of Jason Voorhees? How about a zombie flick from a minor characters POV? Oh man, Alien (1979) told from the perspective of the Xenomorph! Starting all the way from the chest bursting! Give me a whole damn movie from behind the eyes of a Gremlin, Chucky, Godzilla!
As much fun as all this would be, there’s still one more piece to the puzzle that makes this a time when this style of movie can thrive…….The Oculus Rift! Now we’re talking! All of this first person film making combined with the immersive environment of the new VR systems is going to solidify the genre as a whole. I genuinely hope that Hardcore Henry turns into a real franchise, and I really hope he doesn’t go to space.
So what do you guys think? Will the first person perspective films be a flash in the pan or a new staple? What are some of your favorite POV moments in film?
Until next time, I leave you with one of my personal favorites from a little show called SNL: