Camera Obscura delivers on horror in more ways than one. Both the horrors of PTSD along with a classic slasher and serial killer variety!
From the very first scene of Camera Obscura, we know violence is inevitable. We also learn, very early on, that the main character suffers from PTSD. He was a war photographer, who has given up on photography altogether.
His fiancé is clearly trying her best to support him, while also making sure to push when necessary.
And let me start out by saying this; While Christopher Denham is a strong and intense presence as the main character, Jack, the woman playing his fiancé, Claire, is the beating heart of this movie.
She’s portrayed by Nadja Bobyleva, who won me over in every single scene. And honestly, for the story to work in Camera Obscura, this is extremely important!
Score with an 80s vibe
Other than the story and actors, the score plays a pretty big part. It’s got an intensity that carries the emotions of the story. Also, there are huge elements featuring synthesizers, which gives it a distinct 80s vibe.
Of course, I’m somewhat of an 80s girl, so that always works for me. Probably one of the reasons why I adored the San Junipero episode of Black Mirror’s season 3. Well, that and the fact that it was awesome in every single way and has become an audience favorite.
In any case, I’m getting off track with my love of the 80s. Still, I do want to mention that you can get the Camera Obscura soundtrack. It’s out now, so be sure to check it out if you’re into scores and that 80s synthesizer sound.
Cast full of character
As mentioned at the beginning of this review, the actors do a wonderful job. For me, this is as much Nadja Bobyleva’s (Claire) movie as it is Christopher Denham’s (Jack).
Nadja Bobyleva was in the Stephen Spielberg movie Bridge of Spies from 2015, so you might recognize her from this.
Christopher Denham was in both Martin Scorsese’s horror thriller Shutter Island (2010) and rather prominently in Ben Affleck’s Academy Award winner Argo.
We also get to enjoy several awesome supporting characters in very small roles. Three of them are the well-known faces of Noah Segan (Follow), Catherine Curtin (Orange is the new Black), and Chase Williamson (Beyond the Gates).
However, one of the most memorable characters was Tad. He was played by Jeremy King, who offered some scenes I will probably never forget!
Clearly a director with potential
The director, Aaron B. Koontz, has made a few short films, but Camera Obscura is actually his feature film debut. And as debut goes, this is definitely showing potential.
For me, the only real downside was with the pace. I felt the story stalled a bit and went around in circles more than I liked.
It didn’t ruin the overall feeling, but with a very respectable runtime of 1 hour and 35 minutes, I shouldn’t feel it was too long.
Still, you should definitely check out Camera Obscura. If you like serial killers, wild slasher kills, and battles with your conscience, then this should hit all the sweet spots.
Camera Obscura premiered at the Florida Film Festival in April 2017, and the movie is out in Theaters on June 9th and on VOD / Digital HD from June 13th.
Director: Aaron B. Koontz
Writers: Aaron B. Koontz, Cameron Burns
Cast: Christopher Denham, Nadja Bobyleva, Catherine Curtin, Chase Williamson, Noah Segan
A veteran war photographer with PTSD sees imminent deaths in his developed photos, questioning his already fragile sanity and putting the lives of those he loves in danger.