Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31
  1. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Feb 10, 2012
    100
    If the characters weren't so well drawn, if the effects weren't so convincing, and if the upshot weren't so ghastly, the moral component wouldn't carry any weight. But Trank tells his tale with an emotional and visual crispness that gives the superhero genre its best crack at naturalism so far.
  2. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Feb 10, 2012
    91
    The most original and excitingly executed wow-factor-meets-handheld-video feature since "Blair Witch" itself. It's also a movie that rebuilds the power of special effects from the ground up.
  3. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Feb 10, 2012
    88
    Chronicle is full of smart writing that isn't too smart.
  4. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Feb 10, 2012
    88
    John Trank's Chronicle grows into an uncommonly entertaining movie that involves elements of a superhero origin story, a science-fic­tion fantasy and a drama about a disturbed teenager.
  5. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Feb 10, 2012
    83
    Chronicle is so clever about the absurd, and so much fun to watch, that I'm almost disappointed the ending doesn't leave room for a sequel.
  6. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Feb 10, 2012
    83
    Chronicle becomes what "Hancock" wanted to be - a dark superhero story with firm footing in the everyday. Perhaps now the found-footage gimmick has been fully exploited; let us never speak of it again.
  7. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Feb 10, 2012
    80
    First-time director Josh Trank, working from a taut script by Max "Son of John" Landis, indulges in some wild, witty spectacle, but he's equally adept with the tale's grimmer elements, especially when the introverted Andrew unleashes his inner Magneto and uses the city of Seattle as his tear-it-apart emotional playground.
  8. Reviewed by: Mark Dinning
    Feb 10, 2012
    80
    A stunning superhero/sci-fi that has appeared out of nowhere to demand your immediate attention.
  9. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Feb 10, 2012
    80
    This mind-and-fork-bending sci-fi saga comes from the freaky imaginations of director Josh Trank and screenwriter Max Landis, who've packed their feature debut with smartness.
  10. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Feb 10, 2012
    78
    Chronicle may go over the top with its climax, but for such a giddy film, it's remarkably down to earth.
  11. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Feb 10, 2012
    75
    Bolstered by the natural performances of a trio of little-known actors, the very watchable Chronicle keeps us captive throughout.
  12. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Feb 10, 2012
    75
    Despite a gimmicky premise, Chronicle fuels its action with characters you can laugh with, understand and even take to heart.
  13. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Feb 10, 2012
    75
    The cast is comprised of unfamiliar faces, which enhances the pseudo-reality of the milieu. The principals - Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, and Michael B. Jordan - are professional actors with credits (many on television) to their names. But they are not "known" stars and that allows them to be accepted with ease into these roles.
  14. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    Feb 10, 2012
    75
    By the time he's putting the entire metro area on notice -- having thrashed his father and all the local bullies -- Andrew has no camera and the metaphor has run away with the story entirely. The crazy thing is it almost works.
  15. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    Feb 10, 2012
    70
    Chronicle, with its found-footage storytelling and superpowered teens, at least playfully transcends its "Cloverfield meets Heroes" pitch.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Feb 10, 2012
    70
    Unlike other mock documentaries, which unconvincingly pass themselves off as real, Chronicle cleverly embraces the format as shorthand for a new kind of naturalism, inviting audiences to suspend disbelief and join in the fantasy of being able to do anything with their minds.
  17. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Feb 10, 2012
    70
    A clever twist on superpowers and hand-held filmmaking that stumbles before the ending.
  18. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Feb 10, 2012
    70
    Mr. DeHaan, whose vulnerability and physical awkwardness here can evoke the young Leonardo DiCaprio in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," is invaluable. Mr. Russell and Mr. Jordan are as likable as their characters, but it's Mr. DeHaan who pulls you uneasily in.
  19. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Feb 10, 2012
    70
    Chronicle becomes a cautionary tale: power corrupts. Yes, and digital power corrupts absolutely. Andrew's sense of decency disappears, and so does the filmmakers' sense of humor. [13 & 20 Feb. 2012, p. 120]
  20. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Feb 10, 2012
    70
    Indeed, to even call Josh Trank's film a superhero movie seems wrong: Rather, it's about what the average teenage boy might actually do with superpowers - and there is very little heroism or villainy on display here. Chronicle's very lack of scope is its strength.
  21. Reviewed by: Ben Sachs
    Feb 10, 2012
    70
    As pulp sci-fi this Fox release is pretty good, but it's also commendable for its sensitive depiction of adolescent behavior: even the bullying scenes avoid the caricature of most studio films.
  22. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Feb 10, 2012
    70
    Chronicle plays like an extended episode of "The X-Files" might; DeHaan in particular comes off like one of the series' more-memorable characters. That's a compliment. It isn't a great movie, but one could imagine -- and hope -- that it becomes a cult favorite, outlasting other films of its ilk.
  23. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Feb 10, 2012
    63
    Unfortunately, the film's climactic finale grows repetitive and goes on a little too long; once you've seen bodies flying and crashing through buildings once, you've seen it plenty.
  24. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Feb 10, 2012
    63
    Chronicle will never be mistaken for an artistic breakthrough, but it has a solid gimmick and pieces of it are brilliant.
  25. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Feb 10, 2012
    60
    Chronicle is an energetic hodgepodge that tweaks familiar conventions just enough to seem fresh. Forget the X-Men - these are iHeroes.
  26. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Feb 10, 2012
    50
    A few more bucks (or a little more thought) for the script would have been a better investment than faking Seattle. The characters are introduced so quickly, and their personalities are so thin, that what happens to them has little weight.
  27. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Feb 10, 2012
    50
    It's odd, how these high-concept films, knowing that the central gimmick has a way of wearing out its welcome, are all so short – a mere 84 minutes in this case. Why odd? Because short always ends up feeling so damn long. This is no exception. Quick to start and painfully slow to finish, Chronicle is the same old chronicle.
  28. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Feb 10, 2012
    50
    Simultaneously diverting and annoying.
  29. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Feb 10, 2012
    50
    Offers up little more than a tired morality play about the dangers of power, rehashing stale insights about the narcissism of the documentary impulse.
  30. Reviewed by: Vadim Rizov
    Feb 10, 2012
    50
    A messy if initially intriguing take on sci-fi-underpinned high school angst for the vlogging age, Chronicle eventually grows repetitive and stale.
  31. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Feb 10, 2012
    38
    With great power comes the responsibility to make a decent movie, but the mysterious force running through Chronicle is the power to supersuck.
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 446 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 18 out of 152
  1. Feb 13, 2012
    8
    It's been a while since I wrote reviews in metacritic, so I thought writing some would be good. Anyways, all could say of Josh Trank's "Chronicle" is that it's very original. He diminishes those first-person camera angle problems by switching viewpoints (from Andrew's camera to other cameras, iphones, and even from the news chopper) which is clever. The script is well written and although the movie's kinda short it has it's sense of intensity most 2 hour movies can't even show off. Full Review »
  2. Feb 21, 2012
    10
    From movies like Jumper, Push, Next, Clockstoppers, and some other movies about people getting superpowers and using it for their own good, Josh Trank and Max Landis have pulled of the impossible. So what is it about this movie that i liked so damn much, well for one thing i loved the pacing and the timing in this movie, for a running time of 83 minutes, the movie doesn't waste your time and gets to the point very quickly and perfectly. Another thing is how realistic this movie is, with the camera work, it definitely worked out for this movie, and the characters were aware of it, which was a major plus in my book. I could say so much more, but what i will say is my regards to the director and writer for delivering one of the best movies of the year, and were only getting started. Full Review »
  3. Mar 2, 2012
    3
    When I first saw the trailer for this film it looked very exciting, an on-edge gritty film which I looked forward to watching. However, the documentary style doesn't work with this sci-fi film as you seem to miss the action being constricted to a shoddy camera angle in which it is hard to make out what is going on. There is also a disappointing ending which feels like the whole build up of tension was for nothing. Full Review »