The found footage film genre is one that is a bit outdated when it comes to novelty, but somehow garners quite an audience still. Many found footage films fail in the sense that they try to pass themselves off as an actual representation of some sort of anomaly in the world. Recent films like Apollo 18 and The Devil Inside didn't do particularly well because they are pretending to be actual events.
Chronicle on the other hand is refreshing in that the filmmakers know this sort of thing isn't real, and they are not trying to make you believe it's real. Much like Cloverfield, they are just playing with the styling's of the genre and it serves them very well in the end.
Chronicle follows the story of 3 high school kids who stumble upon a mysterious object that upons interacting with gives them telekinetic abilities. Much like working out a muscle the characters have to be careful not to overdo it or their noses start to bleed heavily. We see them start out small, but they grow stronger over the next hour or so.
The film centers heavily on Andrew, played by Dane DeHann, who is the youngest of the three boys who is also filming almost the entire movie. He buys a camera to document his abusive father, played by Michael Kelley, but Andrew becomes obsessed with filming and brings the camera around with him everywhere he goes.
His cousin Matt, played by Alex Russell, is his only real friend at the start, and the most likable character in the film. He is for all intents and purposes in this film Andrew's big brother.
Steve, played by Michael B. Jordan, is the last of the three, and is a friend of Matt. He's one of the more popular kids in school and probably wouldn't have played a huge part in either Matt or Andrews life if they hadn't gained super powers. although he's the comedic relief in the film and a likable guy.
Overall all three characters are played well, however I feel like the character of Andrew gets a little bit unbelievable towards the end, and throughout the film he's a bit hard to connect to as an audience member. He's not liked in the story, doesn't really try to be liked, and while we pity him for being abused, I feel his reactions go way to far. Then again, there would not have been much of a film if he didn't take things to far, and it could be explained away as the new found abilities taking a toll on his mental state, which is pretty plausible.
The story deals with the idea that power corrupts, or in the case super power corrupts, and shows both sides of the coin in dealing with the questions we've all thought about at one point or another; 'If I had super powers this is what I'd do...'
The special effects were relatively noticeable, this being due to the really low budget or $15 million dollars, which pales in comparison to the hundreds of millions spent on films like Transformers, Avatar, and the Xmen films. It's even half the budget they had for Cloverfield. Although they are a slight bit on the cheesy side, they aren't b-movie effects, the are well above passable and eventually you get over them.
The film overall is very enjoyable, and is a nice refreshing blend of found footage and superhero origin story.