(On-demand video, July 2012) I’m (still) not a big fan of found-footage films, but Chronicle knows how to use the conventions of that sub-genre in order to make the familiar feel fresh. The story of three high-school students discovering telekinetic powers, Chronicle could have been just another dull superhero-origins-story rethread if it had been executed with more mainstream sensibilities. Here, though, it takes on a harder, almost horror-centered approach and filters it through the unpolished lenses of consumer-grade cameras. The result feels a great deal more visceral than objective filmmaking, exactly what found-footage is meant to achieve at its best. The slow ramping-up of the film’s SF content is handled well, and leads to an impressive climax that manages to tell a superhero-sized story through limited technical means. Writer/director Max Landis and Josh Trank do much with a low budget, and the result is an impressive calling card heralding promising creative talents. The tone of the story, filled with impulsive self-destructive acts and casual violence, is miles away from the usual heroic tone of similar films, and the result feels much more involving as a result. The teenage cast does a fine job at delivering the material, but the real star here is the way Chronicle is told, transforming a generic experience into something far more interesting. It all amount to a small triumph of form over content, but an enjoyable experience nonetheless. Despite my own misgivings about found-footage films, I welcome it as a pleasant surprise.