“Capture Kill Release” (2016): A Captivating Experience, A Romantic Bloodbath

Love can make you do crazy things, ranging in everything from a tattoo to an impulsive cross-country move. It’s a powerful emotion that has the ability to take you well beyond established limits, some of which are incredibly dark. For instance, would you kill someone to appease your loved one? That is the question asked by Capture Kill Release.

In the latest offering of the recent tradition of found footage offerings, Capture Kill Release follows married couple Jenn (newcomer Jennifer Fraser) and Farhang (Farhang Ghajar, of The Perfect Cup and Something to Hide) as they film their preparation for a do-it-yourself murder. Jenn is enthusiastic and up for the challenge of finding and executing an unsuspecting victim, but as time goes on, loving husband Farhang begins to doubt whether or not he’s cut out for this activity. Will they still go through with it?

Capture Kill Release is a film that is not content to merely entertain you or give you a glimpse into the lives of a pair of would-be murderers. This film grabs you by the throat and drags you around with it for the full hour and a half run time, and it is an extraordinary experience. The tone is excellent, as it begins with the smiling Jenn, who uncovers her brand-new video camera and introduces herself to the audience. The film wastes no time in its story, jumping right into the plans for murder with the same enthusiasm one might reserve for a weekend warrior home improvement project. In fact, the pacing is so fast and absorbing that you may not realize any lapse of time. At first playful and light, the tone gradually shifts from one of glee into something much darker as Jenn and Farhang solidify plans for perfect murder in everything from discussion to approaching strangers. You suddenly move from two people having a laugh to the dawning realization that you’re watching someone seriously moving toward murder. We’re left with our hearts in our throats as Farhang becomes just as uncomfortable right along with us.

This quality is due largely to the writing of Fraser, Ghajar and Nick McAnulty. McAnulty and Ghajar have prior experience together, collaborating in the past on the award-winning short Uncle Brian. The script and story this group delivers is nothing short of magic, as the writing knows how to pace itself while avoiding both cliche and over-sentimentality. It’s a tight story that does not meander, which is due in part to the direction style of McAnulty and co-director Brian Allan Stewart. Stewart’s work as a cinematographer works extremely well in Capture Kill Release, as it’s on full display in everything from perspective shots to lighting. The resulting shots manage to capture the first-person perspective without adding obnoxious qualities so common in this style of film, such as severely unsteady hands and a lack of focus. The result is that the film comes off as well-thought out, echoing the preparation of our married duo.

Speaking of our leads, let’s talk about Fraser and Ghajar. While the cast is fairly limited — itself an impressive feat for a film that could encompass many more daily interactions — both Fraser and Ghajar shine in ways that most mainstream actors cannot. Fraser’s turn as a wife eager for the experience of killing is both endearing and terrifying in its excitement as she easily slips between the sweet girl next door and the raging psychopath we hope to never meet. She is, in a pair of words, terrifying and charismatic. Jenn is a monster of an entirely different caliber, and Fraser’s portrait will leave you shattered. Ghajar, while more reserved in his performance, is just as effective as the patronizing and eventually unwilling spouse. The beauty of his performance is how natural it is: you feel like you know this guy, and that makes it ten times scarier. Separately, these are excellent performances. Combine the two and you simply can’t remove your eyes from them. Expect great things from these two, who will have you suspend all disbelief that you’re watching actors.

This film comes close to being one of my favorites of the year. Capture Kill Release is currently playing on the festival circuit; if you get a chance to see it, you simply must. It’s a masterful film that flies high as both believable and terrifying. You don’t want to miss this one.

Capture Kill Release: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Erin Miskell
Erin Miskell is a horror fan that hails from the Western New York region. A love of Poe at a young age turned into exposure to Vincent Price, which lead to a deep love of classic horror films. International horror from France and South East Asia has become a staple of her diet, which mixes well with her tendency to gravitate toward shlock horror and comedy. Erin loves to analyze films and their meanings, and does so at her site, The Backseat Driver Reviews (www.thebackseatdriverreviews.com). When not watching or writing about film, you can find her listening to music and spending time with her children.