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By Sommer Browning | May 20, 2004

“Ghostbusters” taught us, “When someone asks you if you’re a god, you say yes!” And Nancy Reagan, well you know what she miserably failed to teach (many of) us. David Carter’s film, “Exposure,” tells us if an antique Polaroid camera ever starts predicting your future, you’d better get rid of it. Danny Boyle should have done just that. Through some kind of generic and convenient fate-magic-demon-destiny-spell, Danny comes to possess a haunted Polaroid camera that takes pictures on its own. As per usual, the camera at first appears harmless. Its automatic picture taking seems unique, fun. But soon the camera begins to eject hundreds of horrific and ominous pictures and turns Danny paranoid and frenzied, trying to figure out what they mean.

Like W. W. Jacob’s story, The Monkey’s Paw, the story “Exposure” tells is a twisted and tidy one. “Exposure” is very much a classic macabre mystery, minus the didacticism. The script is, in fact, so classic and familiar, I’ll bet cash you could write the ending of it yourself after watching the first eight minutes. But so what? I still watch Twilight Zone episodes and I still read Poe’s stories though I know what’s probably going to happen. It’s comforting to fiddle and play with the mysterious unknown in predictable ways. Come on, who doesn’t seek the illusion of control? Despite “Exposure’s” melodramatic music and acting, the camera work is interesting and strange angles and quick shots work to ratchet up the tension. Even though the plot’s not fabulously original, it is adequately disturbing. Sometimes knowing what’s going to happen satisfies us on a different level; keeps us turning the pages, keeps our eyes fixed on the screen, keeps us looking over the Polaroids obsessively, waiting to see if what we think will happen, really will.

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