Chronicle is another instalment in the ever-growing alternative superhero genre. It sees three high-school kids stumbling across a mysterious cave that grants them burgeoning powers of telekinesis. As one of them soon realises, their powers are like muscles and the more they are used, the stronger they become. However, Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is having a tough time at home and, understandably, the combination of mental instability and superpowers turns out to be pretty devastating.
What starts out as a series of playful pranks soon becomes uncomfortably mean-spirited, and it’s these scenes that really drew me away from the film. All of a sudden, these kids went from being charming and fun to emotionally hostile and I soon stopped caring about them.
However, this coldness towards the film was overcome by the impressively orchestrated finale, in which the sheer level of destruction belies the films meagre budget. This final quarter of an hour also happens to see Josh Trank (directing his first feature) deciding to drop the found-footage-style aesthetic and it’s the only time the film feels totally cinematic.
It’s undeniable that Chronicle offers something new to the genre, with a far darker, and probably more realistic, take on the consequences of teenagers developing superhuman powers. However, the harsh emotionally distancing, due to some malicious behaviour from the leads, goes a long way to dilute the films otherwise important message.