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In January, 1996 Unsolved Mysteries featured a story on landowner Bert Wall's 'real-life' interactions with the spirits that roamed the Devil's Backbone. Nearly twenty years later, Wall passed away...leaving behind only fragmented tales of an inexplicable terror to those that knew him best.
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Devil's Backbone, Texas movie full length review - Mockumentary Horror Done Well
Full disclosure, I am a sucker for the Found Footage/Mockumentary genre that has become increasingly popular with lower budget film makers. Either you love the genre or you hate it...and that should be a big factor in your decision to watch.
Devil's Backbone, Texas is almost like two films in one. It begins with a narrative of a man returning to his father's home in Texas. This is our semi-fictive story. However, it completes this documentary feeling with experts talking about the history of the Devil's Backbone as well as color interviews on the filmmaker's father. This first half set's up the events of the second half, the true mockumentary/found footage. As the film-maker and his crew of friends arrive at his family's ranch, they begin to have some strange encounters.
At this point, once's suspension of disbelief begins to kick in and we realize this most likely a film, not true to life. Leading up to the second half, we experience a better interesting documentary...one I actually enjoyed. The added benefit of the "real encounters" made the story better, in my mind.
I won't belabor the plot, but it has some spooky events and the ending is not totally satisfying (what found footage ending is?)...but it has some originality and some strong moments. For me, I really enjoyed the blending of the informative with the narrative to create a stronger sense of realism. By presenting the audience with a build up of fact- based story telling and then showing them the found footage style horror, it creates a movie that is harder to dismiss as fake. This is similar to Paranormal Activity's lack of credits...it unbalance's the viewer.
I won't say this is an original idea, I have seen it done before. However, I am always pulled in by it and it is a very strong story telling technique.
Anyways, I think the movie is a good addition to the found footage genre, it is well put together and, while not ground breaking, still an interesting movie.