James begins to hear strange noises around the house, like someone is sneaking around in the shadows, a paranoia that grows as he's pestered by silent phone calls, by songs that mysteriously start playing on his computer (that, like the mix CD, seem to give clues to what the stalker is up to) and by even more sinister events. The police think Amy has just run off, so James is on his own to investigate, running through a list of suspects that includes his coworkers, Amy's family and an old schoolmate named Bill (Devon Sawa) whom James tormented as a teenager. But as the stakes rise and the stalker gets even bolder, can James uncover the culprit before it's too late?
The End Result
The film's tone is reminiscent at times of the current torchbearer of the found footage movement, the Paranormal Activity series, as there's a creepy, invasive sense that someone is "haunting" the home -- though not in a supernatural sense. On a more practical level, the movie plays out much like the recent thriller ATM, with a mystery inidividual tormenting the protagonists for unknown reasons, driving them to increasingly extreme lengths.
The script feels a bit far-fetched at times -- with the antagonist's intricate scheme relying on a lot of specific circumstances and coincidences and with James seeming like he should've done more to convince the police to help him -- but on the whole, despite something of a cop-out ending, 388 Arletta Avenue is a tense, twisty cat-and-mouse thriller that may not be the best that found footage has to offer, but it's one of the most unique and well executed.
- Acting: B- (Stahl is engaging and believable in what's largely a one-man show.)
- Direction: B- (An inventive concept well executed.)
- Script: C+ (A bit far-fetched but gripping and fast-paced.)
- Gore/Effects: C (Little to speak of.)
- Overall: C+ (A clever and captivating utilization of the found footage format.)
388 Arletta Avenue is directed by Randall Cole and is not rated by the MPAA. Release date: May 18, 2012 (on demand May 15).