In the opening moments of any movie you get a great sense of what is in store for you. Usually the style, tone and general pace of a film can all be gained from the first few scenes, that is why so many horrors open with a big jump to convince you straight away of their scare credentials.
Films that take their time to build the mood and atmosphere will probably open slowly setting everything up for an almighty payoff at the end. On the flip side movies that throw you straight into the action will usually keep going with only a few pauses along the way to fill in the gaps. Most of all you hope that if you like the start of a film you will like the rest of it.
The Sigil is the sort of film that is bad from the start and just gets worse.
A mess of a movie desperately trying to emulate Blair Witch with no real redeeming features it resides in the home of so many failed horrors, the found footage genre and as its written, directed, edited and stars Brandon Cano-Errecart I guess we can say it’s all his fault.
The plot if you care involves a house in LA where a bunch of people died and the evil untrustworthy filthy government told everyone it was a radiation leak.
Suspicious of this stupid excuse the sister of one of the deceased teams up with her more than annoying friend and their personality-less camera man to film the house and find out what happened because that’s what people do in LA who are desperate to get famous sorry I mean uncover conspiracies, people desperate to get famous make terrible found footage horrors.
There are so many bad things in this film to list them would take longer than the running time of the actual movie but let’s talk about a few of them.
Firstly the plot is more than ridiculous as the set up to the whole film makes no sense. The house which is allegedly full of poisonous radiation that killed 41 people is not only rich with plants but is located in a built up neighborhood where they haven’t bothered to move anyone else away meaning either it’s all lies or the FBI seriously hates the people living in that block.
Okay so the characters point this out but why are they the first to realise and why did the government do such a bad job? Was the work experience boy in charge of the investigation or something? Whatever the case it is so unrealistic it stops any real involvement with the plot.
As we are taking about a found footage film lets address one of the most annoying elements in the genre which pops up in The Sigil with murderous monotony, the through the camera shot.
This shot which is used in so many films to tell the audience they are seeing something someone if filming is recognizable by the moribund icons that appear on screen such as a battery symbol or a time and date or in The Sigil a logo boasting that its filmed in HD 1080p although if you filmed a dog shit in High definition although it would look great it doesn’t stop it being a dog shit.
My problem with this shot and the crap that appears on screen is if that was real the footage would be ruined by all the logos and icons. I get the director wants us to know the difference between what is filmed by the characters and everything else but surely there is a better, less irritating way of doing it?
Another key problem with The Sigil is the title itself unsurprisingly. According to the internet dictionary I just found a Sigil is “an inscribed or painted symbol considered to have magical power.” Get that, magical powers, so nothing to do with radiation at all then?
This means either you watch The Sigil not knowing what a Sigil is and think – “Sigil that’s a stupid word I wonder if it will be the type of radiation sickness everyone got in that house or maybe it’s the surname of the FBI work experience boy in charge of the cover up” – until the end where the film revels its idiotic and predictable twist and they explain what a Sigil is and say it ten thousand times just so you don’t forget.
Or you know what a Sigil is, because remember I just told you, and now you know the film has nothing to do with radiation at all just some magic symbol and as it’s a horror it’s probably not good magic so the devil is probably involved and oh yep now you’ve worked out the entire plot.
Packed full of bad acting, bad camera work and bad dialogue all of which I am sure the people behind the movie would say are intentional to make it more realistic, The Sigil joins the god awful Asylum Tapes and the pitiful The Paranormal Incident as prime examples of why someone must stop the found footage genre before it ruins horror forever.
And one final comment, in The Sigil someone says the line “We’re not trying to make a horror film” believing that it will come across as an achingly postmodern and hilarious statement, oh the irony!