If you think you have seen all the found footage films out there, you are wrong. Sometimes, these films can get quite monotonous due to the repetitive use of cameras. However, some innovative storytellers come up with new perspectives that we have never seen before. Nias (2024), a directorial debut by Baptiste Rambaud, is a found footage film that features two things that many people love: cats and a found footage film that actually bites!

The movie follows Noémie, a cat sitter who spends her days visiting cats while their owners are away. When she loses a cat and becomes traumatized, she cannot bring herself to say goodbye to a cat named Nias. She ends up pocketing Nias, and her love for cats leads her into an intense chase that takes her and everyone around her on an emotional descent into the streets of France at night.


Nias (2024)

Filmed entirely from the perspective of a cat carrier, Nias (2024) is an innovative and refreshing take on the found footage genre because it eliminates the unresolved ickiness of filming continuously. By using a cat carrier, the actors have more freedom to move around, and it gives the audience a claustrophobic and adrenaline-inducing feeling during the chase scenes. You become powerless as you fill the shoes of an inanimate object being carried around, and all you can do is anticipate your fate. You also become entangled in a “cat-and-mouse” chase, but you find yourself rooting for both “cat” and “mouse” and their agendas.

What makes this movie even more compelling is that it is not centred around a complex issue. Instead, it focuses on a typical task – cat-sitting – which makes the story feel genuine and authentic. The use of the inanimate object in film eliminates the potential of focusing the story on the characters and making it another personal blog-type of found footage that covers almost half of the film with the character’s musings. It also gives the movie legroom to explore different perspectives, as the cat carrier is passed through people who are all involved in the final moments of the movie.


Nias (2024)

The horror in the movie does not come from the chase but rather from why there is a chase in the first place. It’s a struggle to find a new home for Nias, a senior cat who is 12 years old. It’s a race against time because nobody knows what will happen to Nias if he’s not cared for. It’s heartbreaking to see a pet being mishandled by irresponsible owners. The movie conveys the urgency that some people feel when they witness mistreatment. The movie does not show the actual tragedy but rather provides glimpses of it in the most unexpected ways to catch the audience off guard.

It’s also a horror film for the owners of domesticated animals who only want their pets to have a good life, but they can only do so much for them. When they are deemed incapable, all they can do is watch their pets being carried away from their abode. The movie also subtly shows the branding of animals in shelters as not fit to have their own home due to potential pet owner’s demands. Animals have only slight control over what will happen to them, as accidents, sickness by birth, abuse, and other inconveniences change them one way or another and deprive them of being “loved” and treated by “normal” owners. This branding elevates the idea that Noemie’s anxiety towards animals in animal shelters should be our anxiety as well.


Nias (2024)

Even though pets are kept inside shelters, nobody knows when their time is up. Animal shelters cannot house a lot of pets and find ways to minimize them, so euthanasia becomes the only option instead of giving them away to irresponsible owners because, most of the time, animal control is not a priority for the government. It’s a struggle not just for the pets but also for the caretakers of animal shelters as well. The film shows that people who run shelters cannot function only through passion because it’s a daunting task that could take a toll on them physically and emotionally. Instead of being sympathetic, shelter caretakers become apathetic as they see animals come and go without having the life they deserve. This idea solidifies the potency of this found footage. It’s not shoved to the audience but instead given piece by piece that does not feel forced but provides the audience with something to ponder after the film.

While Nias (2024) is only an hour long, and it should be that long only because the director has given so much already. Prolonging it would only make it fall under those found footage films that waste time prolonging a plot that does not actually deliver in the end. If Baptiste Rambaud can tell so much in such a short period, what else could he do with more time?

We watched Nias (2024) as part of Unnamed Footage Festival 7

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