Chronicle begins by using every found-footage/high school comedy trope possible in a clichéd start, then uses this as foundations to give a truly unique and dark take on the superhero genre.


The film opens with Andrew (Dane DeHaan) filming his locked door as his drunk father tries to break in; we then follow him as he films his day… visiting his dying mum and going to school where he is bullied and friendless. The only person who is vaguely kind to him is his cousin Matt (Alex Russell).

Then at a party Andrew, Matt and Matt’s friend Steve (Michael B. Jordan) encounter a strange phenomenon and develop superpowers – huzzah! At this point the film has the opportunity to break free of the cliché and really impress but sadly it doesn’t do that. Instead we suffer through more and more predictable scenes where the group are just teenagers having fun and causing hijinks… you spend the entirety of this film waiting for a dark twist or the exploration of the bigger issues and then being disappointed as instead we have to suffer through the building of lego blocks, a stupid talent show and another house party. It just goes on and on and on (although at least at this point the characters learn to telekinetically control the camera so the annoying found footage style goes away).


Then just when you give up hope of the film being good it twists completely in nature and becomes the film you want. Incredibly dark, unpredictable and violent as Andrew turns insane and starts using his powers for bad. The entirety of the last half hour is up there with the best superhero films as we see Andrew destroying everything in his path whilst a helpless Matt attempts to stop him. It’s just a shame that it take so long to get here, as the film feels much longer than its 84-minute length.

For all this though the film does stick in the mind and I feel that if I where to re-watch it as a super-villain origin story (rather than a found-footage, sci-fi thriller) then perhaps the lengthy scenes of teenage boys giggling and having fun with their powers would have more meaning. There are certainly several scenes that foreshadow what happens and I feel there is another layer to this film.


Overall though Chronicle is a film that suffers from its poor pacing, too much time is spent on the discovering of the super-powers and not enough time actually using them for a purpose.


I will probably re-watch and re-review this film at some point this year to see is my opinions change (and I have a strong feeling they might).