“Lilin’s Brood” is a found footage film, written and directed by Artii Smith and P.W. Simon, that follows a news team trying to determine the whereabouts of a number of missing men, all of whom have a history of visiting a brothel rumored to be engaged in the illegal harvesting and sale of human organs. The film opens with a series of interviews of women whose loved ones are missing. Each interview provides some breadcrumbs of evidence leading the news team to focus on the brothel.
The news team starts their adventure in a high-tech RV equipped with a myriad of surveillance equipment, computers, and maps. While on their journey the RV jolts to an abrupt stop after having hit “something.” An examination of the front grill of the RV reveals the remnants of blood and hair, but no body. Around this time a hitchhiker named Mr. Cabal approaches the RV stating that he thought the vehicle stopped to give him a lift.
With the RV seemingly damaged and cell phone service unavailable, Mr. Cabal offers to bring two of the RV crew to a nearby house with a landline phone so they can call for help; meanwhile the remaining members of the news team stay in the RV and wait. After several hours pass and the two members fail to return, the others decide to go out and look for their missing colleagues. What they find is nothing short of pure terror.
Although clearly a fictional work, “Lilin’s Brood” is loosely based on ancient religious mysticism. According to legend, a woman named Lilith was the first wife of Adam (as in Adam and Eve). Lilith later leaves Adam and consummates with Archangel Samael, resulting in a brood of demons referred to as Lilins – the namesakes of this film.
“Lilin’s Brood” is a low budget found footage film, but does an admirable job with what they have to work with. Pacing and plot execution issues aside, the film delivers decent found footage cinematography and acting. “Lilin’s Brood” is a slow burn that ratchets up the terror to epic proportions towards the climactic ending, which delivers on action, gore, and visual effects.
“Lilin’s Brood” is a slow burn that ratchets up the terror to epic proportions towards the climactic ending, which delivers on action, gore, and visual effects.
Found Footage Approach
As with all found footage films reviewed on FFC, we examine the filming reason to see if there’s adequate justification as to why the cameras keep rolling – and “Lilin’s Brood” does a descent job. The film opens with mockumentary style shooting; next the film transitions to the fixed cameras in the RV, which are presumably always recording; and finally we transition to the handheld video camera and spy cams used by the protagonists when they head off to explore by foot.
The found footage purity in “Lilin’s Brood” is a good effort, but not perfect. The film is shot entirely in found footage format except for the scenes inside of the RV, in which the camera sometimes pans left and right to keep the protagonists in frame, which took me out of the moment when watching this film. Additionally, there’s one scene in the RV bathroom where incidental background music is playing with no identifiable on-set music source, deviating from found footage.
Acting and Plot Execution
The actors perform well in their respective roles, especially when reacting to the stresses imposed upon their characters in the latter part of the film. The dialog between the characters is natural and fluid, as one would expect among colleagues working together for a long time.
The plot starts slow but picks up steam as the story progresses, involving elements of the paranormal, satanic rituals, possession, and demons. However, while the film succeeds in acting, cinematography, and found footage, it falls short in pacing and plot execution.
The dialog between the characters is natural and fluid, as one would expect among colleagues who worked together for a long time.
As mentioned earlier, some of the best acting, action, and visual effects take place in the final 20 minutes of “Llilin’s Brood.” Although the payoff is worth the wait, the earlier portion of the film suffers and more a balanced pacing would benefit the final product.
“Llilin’s Brood” has a number of small plot execution issues that crop up during the course of the film that took me out of the moment. For example, the writers spend too much effort trying to make the news team seem like a large, high-tech company – an effort that doesn’t play out quite right on film. The large “W.H.I.S.T.L.E” sign, corporate logo stickers on the laptops, use of voice commands to operate the laptop, and overacted urgency for equipment checks push this concept way too far.
When the RV driver stops after hitting the unknown “animal” (this scene is on the public trailer), the crew behaves as though they are stranded, but there doesn’t appear to be any significant damage to the RV, which is intentionally stopped by the driver. I found myself asking why everyone didn’t simply board the RV and drive off, as I didn’t buy into the engine being damaged. Another sticking point for me is the reason why the news team are not permitted to use the landline phone. The recurrence of these minor issues (and others) prevent me from being fully immersed in the film. Despite these setbacks, “Llilin’s Brood” employs a sound found footage approach with some decent acting and has a grand finale that’s well worth the wait.