Evil brothers abound whether it’s Claudius in Hamlet, Egyptian mythology’s evil usurper Set, killer of brother Osiris, and of course Cain from Genesis. Similarly, Found (2012) explores a dangerous abusive psycho-sexual sibling relationship between Indiana fifth-grader Marty and 18-year old Steve.
Mop-topped Marty likes graphic novels (Found even begins with a stunning graphic title sequence), and of course, horror. One of his favorites overlaps with one of ours: the transcendentally sleazy Street Trash, the poster of which features prominently in the kid’s bedroom. His other favorite activity, which really resonated with this reviewer, was an interest in nocturnal crackpot radio, the likes of Gary Bell and paranoid chatter about hidden creatures and furtive plots.
Bitter Steve, meanwhile, rents a basement apartment from the folks and has a go-nowhere warehouse job. In the evening, he amuses himself by killing — predominantly African Americans (red-state racism here as compared with Get Out, which The Guardian described as revealing “the horror of liberal racism in America.”). However, unlike Blumhouse productions, this is hard horror, with a level of nastiness that is (very nearly) too much to bear.
Steve stuffs the heads of his victims into a bowling ball bag, temporarily storing the grim trophies in a closet before burying them in the backyard under cover of darkness.
When whiz-kid Marty is bullied at school by the hulking Marcus, a black Nelson Muntz who amuses classmates by flipping off teachers, Steve reveals his racism and poor impulse control, goading Marty to fight back – and when he doesn’t, Steve goes vigilante.
There are n-bombs aplenty, as Steve inherits his bigotry from pops, but that’s not even the half of it.
When Marty eventually discovers the contents of Steve’s closet, he uses it to get back at his one and only friend (the school’s fat kid) who’s gone rogue, bullying Marty for not being able to handle horror movie violence at a sleepover.
Will Marty eventually follow in big bro’s footsteps?
Will the sins of the father be visited upon both sons?
Whom will Marty side with?
The dysfunctional family dynamic is wonderfully explored, and even the prejudiced dad is not without his charms.
And Found was made on the cheap (<$10,000), which underscores how remarkable an achievement this was to have the lasting effect that it did.
The film almost perfectly captures the ordinariness of suburbia (this small-town Indiana could really be anywhere) and the evils that lurk within.
A sibling Bildungsroman, Found even trumps the dynamite Goodnight Mommy when it comes to fraternal terrors. Highly recommended.
**** (out of 5)