Rorschach is written and directed by C.A. Smith. It is a found footage horror that had what seems like an insignificant budget of $7,000 when compared to the multi-million dollar films on the market. However, Rorschach achieves a level of character evolution and genuine interaction not seen in higher budget films.
The movie opens with paranormal investigators Ricky (Ricky Lee Barnes) and Ross (Ross Compton) traveling to meet with Jamy (Jamy Gillespie) and her daughter Ashlynn (Ashlynn Allen). The mother and her young daughter have been experiencing disturbances in their home since Jamy’s mother had passed away so she has contacted Ricky and Ross to investigate her home.
Ricky and Ross are filming their interview with Jamy and their investigation for documentation purposes. Initially, Ricky and Ross are able to explain away all of the occurrences and disturbances in the home. They leave cameras for Jamy to record surveillance footage. Jamy is able to get a few things on camera to show to Ricky and Ross. They still maintain that there are logical reasons for the occurrences. To cover all of their bases, Ricky and Ross speak with neighbor Joyce Porter and call in a housing inspector, hoping to get clear cut evidence to disprove Jamy. They seem to be convinced that media has played a large role in perception. Until, confronted with things they can’t easily explain away.
In the beginning of the film, you watch Jamy, Ricky, and Ross very awkwardly get to know each other through their interactions and the subsequent evolution to friendship. The acting was very convincing and the interactions very genuine. There is a scene where the surveillance camera is set up over night. The audience is watching what the camera is recording. The film then cuts straight to the investigators looking at the tape. They are analyzing the tape and realizing they have an exciting discovery. The scene was shot so subtly that the viewer could miss the action. They play, replay and enhance the video in a manner that displays the genuinely excited reaction of investigators discovering something of this magnitude.
The movie is mostly shot with handheld cameras intermixed with a few scenes utilizing a tripod. The lighting was very accurate for their scenes. Most of the movie is shot inside the Gillespie home and the lighting is reflective of time of day. The audio is primarily comprised of sounds inside the home, camera noise, and conversation. Music is used sparingly, it is only used with the title and then again to accentuate poignant moments in the film. This could be jarring for some viewers, but this fit with the overarching idea that Ricky and Ross had edited and enhanced the footage to showcase their investigation. They were able to edit the footage to cut out the mundane parts and hit just the highlights. This concept works in the favor of moving the plot and enhancing the film without having consistency issues. They would be editing the film with the freeze frames and enhancements to emphasize their discoveries. They are also able to add very useful subtitling so that the viewer more fully understand what is going on in the scene.
The movie is paced slowly like an actual investigation. Discoveries occur naturally with mixed reactions which builds tension for the rising action. The climax of the film was very satisfying due to the slower build. The film ends with subtitled information that leaves the viewer with unanswered questions. This may be frustrating for some, however, it clearly states in the beginning that what we are about to see defies a coherent or consistent narrative. There is no promise of a happy ending, or any ending at all.