The internet phenomenon of “Creepypastas” has been a wellspring for horror films in the past few years, ranging from straight forward films like Slender Man and the incredibly titled Creepypasta to more nuanced films like We’re All Going To The World’s Fair. Gavin Charles and Alex Conn’s found footage Noclip is the newest entry in this lineage, exploring the concept of the “Backrooms” creepypasta in which the narrator is stuck in an apparently endless labyrinth of mundane but ominous beige office spaces.

            In Noclip, Charles and Conn film themselves wandering around the backroom spaces of an old shopping mall, going deeper and deeper until things become a hazy surreal nightmare. I know that sounds really vague, but that’s the gist of this movie. The first half is somewhat successful at coming across as found footage, but the back half of the film sort of undoes that suspension of disbelief by attempting to create a feeling of unreality with postproduction editing effects that are unfortunately rather amateur looking. It’s a tragic case of being able to see the zipper on the monster suit. Credit where credit is due, I do think there’s an interesting concept here. Abandoned malls are creepy (although all cards on the table as a forty-one-year-old elder millennial I think my personal view on the matter is colored more by my own unease with getting older, but I digress), and the idea of becoming lost in one is unsettling. Plus, the whole film does have a certain experimental feel to it, almost a Fulcian emphasis of visuals over narrative. The problem is that simply an idea does not a good horror film make.

With a little polishing and trimming down the run time (even at literally just an hour it’s somewhat tedious) this would’ve made a fun addition to an anthology film. The filmmakers obviously have a passion for the idea, and they clearly had a blast making it, so I don’t want to come off as shitting on someone’s hard work and effort (and we here at Cinepunx will always give a movie credit for just getting made) but honestly, I don’t think this movie entirely succeeded in what it set out to do. But, if you want a quick excursion into the weird and spooky, you could certainly do worse than Noclip.