Mr. Jones (PG-13)

Drama 90 May 2, 2014
By Michael Nordine
If we haven't already reached it, we're rapidly approaching the point when the intended audience for found-footage horror movies can no longer remember when such films didn't outnumber their created-footage brethren by a ratio of approximately 28:1.

Adding to that divide is Karl Mueller's Mr. Jones, which tells of a couple sojourning into the woods to film a nature documentary and rejuvenate their relationship. Things get weird on night 51 of the couple's woodland residency, when birds fly into the side of their cabin; they get weirder the next day, when a hooded figure appears in the background of their footage. Full of sun-kissed imagery, self-effacing humor, and ruminative narration, these early scenes prove an exception to most of this genre du jour's tired rules, which makes it especially disappointing when the third act does little more than reinforce them. Mueller justifies Scott and Penny's questionable choice to explore a creepy nearby cabin by noting that it's the only monotony-breaking thing either of them has seen in a month; once in there, they realize they've found the lair of Mr. Jones, an urban legend said to create enigmatic totems and send them to unwitting recipients across the world whose waking and unconscious hours are forever altered.

Mr. Jones is the stuff of both conspiracy theories and collegiate discourse, and Mueller's elliptical exploration and creation of that mythology sets the bar a bit too high for his much-less-interesting protagonists to fully clear.
Karl Mueller Sarah Jones, Rachel O'Meara, Jon Foster, Mark Steger, Jessica Dowdeswell Karl Mueller Anchor Bay/Freestyle Releasing

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