These kids aren’t your stereotypical high school students. Aside from their amazingly clear complexions, I buy that these are real kids. The first act of Chronicle sells us solid acting and just enough meaningless drama to make us believe this is indeed high school. It’s one of those “found footage” movies; one of the characters is supposedly shooting the movie on a consumer-grade camcorder. Every once and a while, we get to see different angles from the phone- and blogging-cameras of eye witnesses.
So one night these kids stumble upon a hole in the ground. The hole opens up to a cavern. They enter and find something suggestively extra-terrestrial and leave with nose bleeds. Later they realize they have supernatural powers. If there’s one movie I’d compare Chronicle to, it isn’t a Marvel film. It’s Carrie. Soon the kids are using their telekinetic powers to do exactly what kids would do with those powers: pranks. This involves scaring people at a toy store and moving parked cars.
When they push their powers too far, they get nose bleeds. One of them theorizes that it’s like a muscle: if they use it too much they exhaust it. But it can be exercised, too. The main character finally steps out from behind the camera after exercising his own powers. Since he can levitate objects, including himself, there’s no need for a dedicated cameraman anymore. This kid also gets beaten up by his drunk dad a lot.
He’s not stable. He’s not a cool kid. He’s where the Carrie vibe comes into play. You push someone like that enough, they push back. When they’ve got inhuman powers, they can be a force you don’t want to mess with.
Chronicle isn’t necessarily everything I hope for in a popcorn flick, but it’s entertaining and rarely insults the intelligence. We all know the camcorders and camera phones they have in this movie can’t be of such great quality, but hey, it’s easy to suspend that disbelief because it’s so well-made. We’ve been seeing a lot of these found footage movies lately, but categorizing it as such gives potential viewers the wrong idea. This is a well written movie and they’re not just using the visual device to hide the seams.