Sold as a found footage type film, Bobby Marno's "Damien" is more like a curious look at a finished FF project, before it's sent the way of the dodo by those who definitely don't want you to see it. I won't say much more on that subject, but rest assured, I found the ending of this flick quite satisfying. Actually, when I consider that I'm really not a fan of the found footage genre, "Damien" held up pretty damn well. It may have its demons to contend with, but generally speaking, Marno's film far surpassed any of my expectations - by a country mile.
In a nutshell, a group of guys decides to make a documentary about the seemingly way too boring Damien. Damien's a hard-working everyman who dabbles in engineering, loves his 3d printer, and has a passion for renewables. The problem is that Damien seems kind of boring - not someone worthy of an entire documentary. So the team digs for alternate points of interest and is eventually taken to Damien's old family home. Aside from a few interesting relics, there's not a whole lot to see, and Damien insists the upstairs is too dangerous to look at. The following day one of the production team, Hammer, has seemingly decided to call it quits and has gone home. Or has he? By the time Hammer's whereabouts are confirmed, the film has hit its stride, and the true nature of "Damien" is revealed. It may have been a bit of a trek to get to this point, but it was worth the wait.
I'll get straight to the meat and potatoes of it - the biggest issue with "Damien" is that it's far longer than it probably should have been - but even that's not quite right. Half the film is the build-up for the final act, and literally, nothing happens until you're already almost an hour invested... if you make it that far. "Damien" does everything it can to make itself look much like the title character himself. Dull, with nothing going on. Now, I'm all for character building but honestly? The biggest problem Bobby Marno's film faces - is keeping viewers interested long enough to kick the ball off.
Now, the individual pieces all work. The acting is pretty decent, and the isolation does start to get at you. But imagine turning on your television because a spectacular car crash is airing at a certain time. Then imagine listening to how the engine works in that particular car - for almost an hour before finally seeing the crash. The problem isn't so much the overall length; it's the waiting for "Damien" to eventually shift gears. Now, on the plus side of things, once this film kicks off, it really goes for broke. Had the first hour been more interesting, or cut down by a half hour or so... you get the idea.
At the end of the day? Marno's film was far better than I expected - but I wouldn't really call it a comedy, more like a straight-up horror flick with a few comedic elements. The first half does drag, but for anyone reading this who may be on the fence... it gets better. Trust me. "Damien" truly is worth the wait, and patience does pay off. In my humble opinion, for a found footage movie, "Damien" was pretty damn excellent. Don't be scared to make the time investment; you'll be happy you did. Three and a half stars.