Written and Directed by Ramone Menon
Runtime- 92 minutes
The film opens with a legend;
May/13/2011 (South Hill CA) media reports receiving copies of video recordings from an unknown source simply labelled as ‘The Black Tape’.
And continues to inform the viewer;
This is complete and unedited footage of those tapes.
Comprising of flashbacks (with at all times the exact date glaringly shown at the bottom of the screen) captured from several cleverly hiding places (and several carefully chosen stages) the film is split into several sections broken up by cardboard headers, featuring the killer in various poses in quazi-theatrical garb, numerous headings including but not limited to ‘sex tape’, ‘welcome home’ and humorous off-kilter legends like ‘eggs benedict’ and ‘hello’.
At instances throughout the killer is shown stalking around, captured either in reflections or witnessed blatantly walking past the cameras view itself, as if having no care in the world in relation to getting caught, taunting, teasing, preying on his victim’s fears and utilizing his knowledge of them to his/her advantage.
The situations captured throughout the period of time the footage runs, include various chilling situations, blackmail and numerous effective terrifying scenes also vividly displaying the breakdown of a family unit drowning in extreme stress due to a lack of communication and circumstances that are hard to comprehend unless one is ever in the same position.
The footage wraps nicely towards its finale with the killer walking the viewer through how certain situations were developed effectively, how and why the outcome appeared a certain way and to what means.
The Black Tape was a little odd on account of it playing out a little differently than a more traditional feature in the same genre (serial killer/crime) that traditionally would follow a cohesive structure that of a beginning, a middle and an end. But it worked regardless keeping my attention at all times, admittedly the killer’s willingness to add a ‘breakdown’ and their own brand of humor only added to my overall enjoyment. At times I was strongly reminded of other found footage, POV features, in particular the original Paranormal Activity and Blair Witch Project with non-flinching static landscapes to bring the viewer into the action more on account of it appearing more as absolute reality, supported with believable acting and characters, Elina Madison is outstanding as a parent with secrets of her own on the verge of a meltdown. In essence a live event/crime scene rather than a multi angle multi-million-dollar budget scripted affair. Much like in Blair Witch some of the footage is captured in absolute darkness with only the illumination of a flashlight to aid both the viewer and the antagonist/protagonist chilling to view with all the lights off.
The Walking wha-
In my opinion The Black Tape is very deserved of seeking out and spending close to a hundred minutes exploring. Presently it can be found on Vimeo with a trailer available to view at the official website. Please help support in reaching an official release as it’s well worth seeing on the big screen with great audio to add to its atmosphere and effectiveness.