James (Nick Stahl) and Amy (Mia Kirshner) are a married couple who are being secretly filmed by a mysterious stalker. Their relationship starts to crumble when the stalker uses information gleaned from the cameras to subtly manipulate the unsuspecting couple. When Amy vanishes, James is not sure whether she has been abducted or has left him. The acts of the tormentor become increasingly twisted and violent as James gets closer the source of the terror.
Another one for the increasing mountain that is the “Found Footage” genre (starting with the Blair Witch Project back in 1999 and popularised again thanks to Paranormal Activity ten years later) 388 Arletta Avenue is more a thriller than the traditional horrors of the genre; telling the story of an advertising agent whose wife is abducted and is subsequently filmed and tormented by his stalker-come-kidnapper.
Filmed entirely through hidden camera’s that have been placed around advertising agent James Deakin’s (Nick Stahl) home, office and car, the film follows the traditional and predictable arc of many average thrillers. After his wife’s disappearance Deakin turns to her friends and family for answers, eventually even contacting an ex-school mate whom he used to bully; all to no avail. Trips to the police are futile and their reluctance to help him is only furthered when the Deakin family cat, in a bizarre twist, is also abducted and replaced with another cat that looks almost identical.
Things finally reach a head and Deakin confronts his stalker with all the tension and intrigue of a wet Sunday.
Unfortunately for 388 Arletta Avenue it has come too late into the game for the Found Footage movie and these days there is very little that can be offered that we haven’t seen before. When the most imaginative plot turn is a cat-napping (and don’t get me wrong I love cats) it’s fairly easy to determine the nature of the film you are being presented with. It is not that there is anything particularly bad about 388 Arletta Avenue just that there is nothing new and that the traditional genre traits go underused and unchallenged throughout; the material at hand is utterly unimaginative and played out as simply as possible leaving this a mundane and mediocre movie.