The Burningmore Deaths
R0 - America - Cleopatra Films
Review written by and copyright: Eric Cotenas (28th May 2017).
The Film

In 2008, family man James Parrish (Geoff Tate) inexplicably murdered his family and disappeared into the night. Although none of his neighbors or co-workers saw the signs, an investigation into his private life revealed an obsession with the occult, and that he had a tattoo reading "Mora" (a god of chaos) inked into his flesh the day before he carried out the murders. There was no sign of him until 2010 in Queens, New York in what would become known as "The Burningmoore Incident" with the deaths of fourteen people who were working on a home improvement show "Gettin' Hammered" in one of several derelict houses on a naval base purchased by the state to exploit as a luxury seaside community. Over a hundred hours of video footage shot at the location has been reconstructed into a narrative for a TV special against the wishes of the victims' families. Eager to give his business a boost, contractor Harry Cole (We Own the Night's Tony Guida) assembles a video team – fronted by horndog host Doug (Jon Conver) – to document his company's transformation of a Victorian house on the base into a quaint bed and breakfast. Although a homeless man (Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype's Tim Gallin) tries to warn them away from the house, which he claims belongs to "Mora", the production and construction crews press on, far too distracted by leaks, mold, and obnoxious pranks by Fitz the plumber – not to mention the influx of cameraman, photographers, designers, contractors, and obnoxious house inspectors – to notice the dark figure moving through the periphery of their shots (and picked up in more detail by the static cameras). A star vehicle of sorts for rocker Tate of the band Queensr˙che (the DVD's bizarre and nonsensical tagline "Operation Deathcrime" appears to be a reference to the band's 1988 debut album "Operation: Mindcrime"), the problem with The Burningmore Deaths – originally titled The Burningmore Incident – is not the broad Queens caricatures or the lack of imagination to do anything but go through the same motions as every other found fiction production. The main fault is in framing the film as a television special, robbing the backstory of any mystery, adding overbearing incidental music (including some heavy metal and a Satanic chorus that trivializes the onscreen deaths the production company claimed that they were not exploiting), and then rewinding, zooming, and brightening the image to reveal sights that have gone by without comment since found footage fans are already geared to scanning the entire frame for something that is not supposed to be there. Gore includes a lot of blood spatter (some apparently CGI) with much of the carnage taking place offscreen, and the climax is the usual shakycam run through the house. While the film's performances will not win any awards, the casting is eclectically composed of New York-based actors and stunt performers with plenty of episodic television (a lot of Law & Order franchise day players) and films of note under their belts, but only a few truly bad performances really stand out. Tate performs a song for the end credits. Although it tries to put a spin on the found footage genre, The Burningmoore Deaths is another passable timewaster.

Video

Cleopatra Films' single-layer DVD is nothing special, but the possibly DV- or at least several heavily-compressed flavors of consumer-movel HD- images are deliberately shot in a rough-n-ready documentary fashion, have been heavily treated with color correction and various overlays, and highlight video noise in blown-out whites and underexposed areas of darkness (along with loss of resolution from the enlarging of portions of the shot for emphasis). The film is also available in high definition but it is a manufactured-on-demand BD-R, and we cannot imagine it being a significant improvement.
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Audio

The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track gets the job done with dialogue levels of varying clarity in based on proximity to the documentary camera microphones while source music also fluctuates in volume as the film cuts to different camera perspectives in different locations. The scoring is more consistent in volume. There are no captions or subtitle options.
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Extras

The only extras are a slide show and trailer (1:42) while the previews for The Black Room and Blood Trap find some once Hollywood hopefuls slumming in otherwise interesting-seeming scenarios.
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Overall

Although it tries to put a spin on the found footage genre, The Burningmoore Deaths is another passable timewaster.
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