Thursday, February 17, 2011

Alex Young

I was impressed by George Ratliff’s ability to film the entire documentary without interjecting his own views or opinions on the audience. From beginning to end, you see what one would see as if they were actually present with the church involved with Hell House. At the end of the film, you have only your opinions about the Hell House, not the documentarians. In each scene, you have the voice of a member from the church, be it the pastor, one of the youth, or just another person. It seemed to me that Ratliff took special care to show the people in their most natural light. He did this by using scenes that made the people look ‘good’. These were scenes such as the interviews, where they spoke about experiences that were very touching and special to them. These were good to help build a personal connection between the people on screen and the viewer. However, Ratliff also includes scenes that make the people look bad. This can be observed in the scene after some kids visit the hell house and express their disagreement in view with those depicted in the attraction. This is a good scene to show that they are not all good, but lets the viewer remember that they aren’t all bad either. It leaves a lot of room for the viewers to formulate their own opinions. Throughout all this, there is no voice over from Ratliff. I think this not only helps keep the film objective, but also brings the reader closer to all of the people being showcased. As a viewer, you feel that you are present in the room when the person on screen is talking. The technique of filming meetings and the processes involved with running the Hell House, as well as the interviews with members of the church, really help to put the viewer on the scene, so you can connect with what’s being shown.

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