Main cast: Kathryn Prescott (Bird Fitcher), Tyler Young (Connor Bell), Samantha Logan (Kasey Walters), Keenan Tracey (Devin Lane), Priscilla Quintana (Mina Rodriguez), Katie Stevens (Avery Bishop), Davi Santos (Tyler Drew), Grace Zabriskie (Lena Sable), and Mitch Pileggi (Shriff Thomas Pembroke)
Director: Lars Klevberg
Poor Polaroid. It was actually completed back in 2017, but was stuck in distribution limbo only to see the light of day recently. That likely explains the dated, formulaic teen horror nature of this thing, as it is clearly made to cash in on the popularity of the “kids get killed by a monster that comes out from some dumb thing they picked up” thing that was the fad a while back, and sadly, is a fad all over again as streaming services need any cheap turd they can get their hands on to fill up their slots.
The main characters of this one should be familiar to folks that have watched a few of such films before. There is the shy and unassuming (but still hot) Bird Fitcher, the guy she has a crush on, some sassy female friends and their boyfriends, et cetera. This time around, the object in question is a “vintage” Polaroid camera, which makes me sigh because I come a time that predates such “vintage” things so oh dear lord, I am so old.
Predictably, whoever gets a picture taken with it will be stalked and killed by some tall, creepy shadowy thing that comes with a billion predictable jump scares. Seriously, that thing doesn’t do that straightforward kill-its-victims thing; instead, it just stays in the shadows while some moron gasps and slowly reaches out ahead for the “BOO, JUMP SCARE!” moment. Then it kills the victim with quick cuts and edits as well as fake-looking CGI. Yes, it’s like Slender Man has decided to borrow Samara’s shtick and embarrass the both of them.
Also, there isn’t much inventiveness to the death scenes. They are most lead-ups to jump scares and then the movie either quickly cuts away or has some fake-looking CGI smother the victim in a bloodless kill scene. Furthermore, in a more inventive movie, some of the death scenes may be viewed as homages to classic horror films such as the original A Nightmare on Elm Street. However, given how by the numbers this movie is about its “Here’s yet another long-drawn scene of characters fumbling the dark… wait for it, wait for… BOO, JUMP SCARE!” agenda, these scenes tend to come off as yet another effort to conform to overdone generic horror film tropes.
As for the cast, they are all staples of teen genre. Bird is supposed to be plain and awkward, but of course we can’t really have that, so she’s actually hot and guys all want her. She just doesn’t that, how totally relatable. Everyone here is so bland and cookie-cutter that this movie could have been one of those horrid teen romantic comedies that infest Netflix if there weren’t some tall, gangly black shadow thing trying to kill them off one by one.
The saving grace of Polaroid is that the cast isn’t particularly awful and the production values aren’t too bad. It’s never terrible, it’s just very forgettable because it’s so much like any other teen horror film that relies on jump scares and teen soap opera tropes to deliver the goods. One can say that thank goodness this isn’t something from Troma or The Asylum, but some of those movies have the camp and charm that this paint-by-numbers movie lacks.