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The Globe and Mail

When the horrors of war scratch at your door

A scene from “388 Arletta Avenue”

3 out of 4 stars


Though the found-footage genre may have grown overfamiliar, Randall Cole's political horror movie 388 Arletta Avenue is an astute mash-up of the surveillance-camera horror films such as Paranormal Activity and Austrian director Michael Haneke's 2005 drama Caché (Hidden).

Most of the movie is experienced from the perspective of a stranger, armed with surveillance equipment, who terrorizes a couple – rising advertising star James (Nick Stahl) and his graduate-student wife, Amy (Mia Kirshner). James assumes the culprit is a misfit Afghanistan vet (Devon Sawa) who he once mistreated. Meanwhile, his wife, who has been writing a doctoral thesis on Afghan embroidery for about as long as the war has been going on, either abruptly leaves or is kidnapped.

Thanks to the slow-burn pacing and authenticity of the performances, 388 Arletta Avenue manages to use the terrorized-couple genre to provide a timely commentary on supposedly safe homes and distant wars.

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