Being one of the ubiquitous 90s kids, this film opens with the line I most want to see preface any story….once upon a time in 1995. It then sets a tone with a somewhat brutal, but ultimately lackluster bang. Nonetheless, I’m intrigued by this entry to a genre I thought would never again intrigue me. Mockingbird is at the surface, yet another found footage flick with a somewhat fresh premise.

Our story unfolds with “someone” leaving a video camera at three houses. The 3 subjects are a stark contrast, a lonely girl in school, a man and wife who, judging by the husband’s level of sexual banter, hasn’t had a night away from the kids in a very long time, and your local GameStop employee living with his mom with no foreseeable prospects. The only seeming constant is that each party believes they have won some sort of contest and received a brand new video camera. The only actual constant, however, is disappointment.

Lucky for us, each party makes the all too common in this sub-genre, and totally impractical choice of carrying their new found camera absolutely everywhere as soon as they figure out how to turn it on. This captures even more gifts coming, as two of the parties receive vhs tapes. Both seem totally unfazed even though blank vhs tapes almost always include someone being butt-fucked, or killed, or both. History does not mislead us in this instance.

With the first act closing, the film begins to lose its way. The aforementioned gamer is subsequently sent a clown costume, beard clippers and further instructions to go to the ladies restroom at a nice hotel. After screaming about his flatulence, he tries to ease the ladies’ minds by mentioning that he’s doing this is for a contest, and anecdotally mentions that he’s never been into a women’s restroom and thought there would be chairs or couches inside—this is essentially how I came to feel about this film.

I’ve been in men’s restrooms before and I’ve seen found footage films before. Upon reading about the premise of this film I thought, I’ve been here before, but not quite like this. Could this be a different incarnation of something I’ve come to expect to see constantly, like the found footage film? Maybe it will be totally different. Maybe it’s a whole new world with something comfortable to sit on? Essentially the same thing I’ve come to know but with some lavender scented, cleaner take on something I’ve seen a thousand times? Perhaps.

This is not the case. It’s the same old shit filled surroundings I’ve been visiting far too often these past few years. They even followed other genre norms by making a family pet the first death. It starts out with an idea that could have potentially been something, but ultimately loses its grip on you.