CURSE OF AURORE is creepy at times and infuriating at others. Still, the film is a familiar story for many creators, save the scary haunting portion. It utilizes the Youtube genre that focuses on horror and tells a story within a story. There are enough unique qualities to make the film worth a view, especially if you’re a fan of found footage horror.
Synopsis: A “Dark Web” thumb drive discovered by viral YouTuber, Casey Nolan, reveals disturbing footage following Lena, Aaron, and Kevin, three American filmmakers visiting rural Quebec to research the true child murder case of Aurore Gagnon, a girl who died as a result of brutal child abuse inflicted by her parents in 1920. As the filmmakers search for inspiration in the quiet farm town of Fortierville, the place where Aurore died and is buried, they witness a number of bone-chilling paranormal occurrences ultimately leading them to an attempt to communicate with the deceased child. Armed with a stolen book called “Languages of the Dead,” and a rosary from Aurore’s childhood home, the filmmakers take part in a make-shift seance, foolishly releasing a demonic force that can only be contained through a brutal and archaic ritual.
Though found footage, the film makes you wonder if any of it is based in reality. Uniquely, there is some reality present as there is a channel on Youtube called Mindseed TV that indeed gets Dark Web mystery boxes and unveils them online. This real aspect creates a more chilling and believable tone for the entire film as you question if Casey Nolan is real. Whether or not the footage of these events real? Is there really an Aurore Gagnon who died from child abuse? What’s real and what’s not are will play like a tug of war in your mind as you watch the film. Because, based on Wikipedia, Aurore Gagnon is also real as is the tragic story of her abuse and murder.
CURSE OF AURORE is scary at times and there is always a change in sound that alerts you to something happening on screen that you may not have initially caught—I actually had to rewind a couple of times. The characters talk like characters who know they’re on camera. But the camaraderie between Lena (Llana Barron), Kevin (Jordan Kaplan), and Aaron (Lex Wilson) is entertaining, funny at times, and feels authentic for a majority of the film. When they are high and discussing ideas for their film, we can easily imagine ourselves brainstorming with friends under the same conditions. Their connection is one of the best aspects of the film. The one extremely annoying character many will eye angrily might be Kevin because his penchant for grabbing items that are not his will leave the audience screaming aloud and perhaps lead to an unsympathetic attitude regarding unfolding events. It’s the very energy of they f-ed around and found out.
What elevates CURSE OF AURORE is the location, particularly the creepy, religious house they stay in which just screams death. The fact that many of the residents don’t speak English or veer between English and French and we are left as unsure as our leads about the intentions of those around them increases the discomfort. Another plus is the way things occur on camera and it becomes clear that none of this is being witnessed by the three in real-time, implying things are only showing up on camera. It gives the audience a sense of dread as well as comfort that we, at least, know more than Lena, Aaron, and Kevin early on.
Naturally, the escalation leads to a divide between the group who is aware weird occurrences are happening and are okay with continuing while the other, sensibly, wants to leave. Of course, without these foolish antics, there may not have been a story. Still, it would’ve been interesting to see them decide to leave and learn it’s far too late. Few movies employ that as though it’s an impossibility and it would be refreshing. The effects and ghostly images are not terrifying because the effects are lacking. Still, even dislike of a character, like Kevin, can leave the audience invested in their, or his, downfall.
The biggest plus found in CURSE OF AURORE is the mixture of reality with the story. Particularly that we are viewing this on a Youtube video by an actual Youtuber with a real channel ensures it’s not the worst found footage film. It may even drive more people to the story of Aurore as well as the channel MindSeed TV on Youtube. I was waiting to see if something happened to Casey Nolan at the end for viewing the footage. However, what would that entail for us while also viewing the footage?
While some may hate stories of real death and murder being used for entertainment, there is something to be said about remembering history and, without entertaining fictionalized stories of real horror, few would know these stories. Not everyone enjoys watching documentaries. We should be haunted by stories such as these, where a town, the parents, and the courts failed to protect a child and, ultimately, let her die with no real justice. With CURSE OF AURORE, we just might be.
CURSE OF AURORE will arrive On-Demand on January 12, 2021.