Engaging from start to end, ? is the most enjoyable ‘found footage’ movie I’ve had the pleasure of watching. That it doesn’t frighten a lot is the only thing that keeps it from being perfect. Seven collegians drive to a few days stay in an isolated house in a forest. They’re having fun getting started on their short film, a project they’re all enthusiastic about. The play a game of darkroom, and that’s when the movie goes dark, and that’s all you’ll get of the story from this review.
The acting by these youths – most of them debutantes – is amazing. These youngsters act so naturally that it makes you want to kill all the Bollywood actors who ham their way through films or make crores of rupees without even making an effort to act. The dialogues are fantastic – it’s all very real; these kids are how you expect college kids to be: there’s wit without a shred of lameness, banter that would come naturally to anyone their age, albeit without the nonsense you hear from a lot of kids (the dozen kids who were talking incessantly throughout the film thought this was a shit movie, by the way).
?, or Question Mark, deftly wipes out everything you expect from found-footage movies; it keeps itself free of the clichés that no such film has been able to avoid. The kids have a discussion about why they shouldn’t leave the house and the location after realizing there’s a supernatural force at work there; and they, unlike the morons in every other horror movie I’ve seen, use their minds and decide to sleep in the same room instead of getting scattered.
That they all get screwed anyway is beside the point; the point is that ? (or Question Mark) doesn’t use scary faces to scare, evil laughter to spook, or background music to create tension, and the scenes of demonic possession have been handled very well. There’s no flying-in-the-air or growling.
Even though it falls short on scares, I’ll tell you that ? (Question Mark) is the most flawless, and by far the most enjoyable horror flick I’ve seen. The acting by all those kids, their banter exchange, the direction by Yash Allison (“Footage compiled by Yash Allison,” the poster says.) is an hour and a half of lessons other filmmakers should learn. If only it was higher on scares, the film would have been a horror masterpiece, but to its credit, ?/Question Mark is an expertly crafted horror movie anyway.