Samuel Marko’s Every Single Someone does for found footage what Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer did for slasher films: it makes the horror real. A shocking and disturbing 21st-century vision of A Clockwork Orange, the writer-director pulls off the bowler hats and stuffed crotches to reveal how scary young, ruthless boys with blood-covered faces really are.
The film is purported to be put together from 16mm footage of a college lifestyle documentary shot by a public television crew in Colorado. These dailies apparently lead to the arrest of the documentary crew after the Astaria campus shooting. The film follows Lee (Luke Krogmeier), a perfectly normal college student who we first see spinning around happy with his girlfriend, Arlis (Megan Elisabeth Kelly). Then Arlis breaks up with Lee, and this makes him feel bad. Lee seeks comfort from his peers, but all they can talk about is how good a marijuana strain named Golden Goat is. So, he does something most quiet young men do not do: Lee and his friends hire a contract killer to murder Arlis. After she is killed, Lee feels much better. To continue feeling better, Lee starts getting his friends to help him do some very, very awful things.
The alchemy that makes everything feel so real it sweats begins with the amazing 16mm cinematography by Nils Alan Eklund. The director of photography summons up the look of 1970s era PBS documentaries with amazing accuracy. He clearly loves how the medium captures washed-out colors and light flares. The instant reaction to the look of Every Single Someone is that you believe everything you see is real; that is footage straight out of the 1970s.
The film is also shot with precise timing regarding all camera “accidents” to make everything look more authentic, allowing the actors to seem like they are not acting. The natural interaction between the cast is amplified by this retro fly-on-the-wall style, making everything more sinister when evil begins to take over. It also makes the footage of guys hanging out, grinning, and playing basketball eerier as we just saw them all commit another horrible act of violence.
“Lee and his friends hire a contract killer to murder Arlis.”
There is no escaping the dread that oozes throughout Every Single Someone because of the crew’s complicity with everything they are documenting, especially the snuff footage. When the film crew starts following Amos (Luke Towle), the contract killer, there seems to be no question as to whether it is appropriate to go around filming him murdering people. Your stomach drops when they politely offer to shut off the camera for Amos as it was making too much noise and might tip off the victim.
While the concept of a documentary crew filming murders may echo the 1992 French film Man Bite Dog, this picture foregoes that film’s reliance on humor that years later has become offensive. Also, just like another realistic horror picture, Snowden Murders, there is a lot of craft in how the atrocities are shown onscreen. However, instead of opting for graphic depictions of murder, rape, and animal mutilation, Marko uses small sickening details of these acts to fill in the bigger picture in the viewer’s head.
There is also the deliberate focus of keeping Amos in his motorcycle gear while killing people, which is an allusion to the famous symbol of death as a motorcycle rider from Jean Cocteau’s Orpheus. There is also a Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer reference when Amos is staring into a bathroom mirror with the muffled screaming noise of a rock club happening in the background, like the screams of past murders in Henry’s head. Every Single Someone is some strong stuff and should be sought out by connoisseurs of dangerous and upsetting art.
"…should be sought out by connoisseurs of dangerous and upsetting art."