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Set in the not so distant future, in Any Town USA, sixteen year old Herman Howards makes a fateful decision. He enters his suburban school and kills thirty nine students, two teachers, and a police officer. Just before his arrest he emails his idol, famous journalist Lax Morales, sending him clips of the shootings captured with Herman's own digital camera. In the clips Herman tells Lax, "I want to tell my story on your show". Lax, haunted by his own past, is now face to face with Herman. The movie explores why and how a massacre like this can happen in our society, desensitizing in America, youth violence and bullying, the impact the media has on our individual quest for fame, and ultimately our need for connection. Written by
This a truly haunting film. Norman Reedus as an online journalist is understated and thoughtful. Garett Buckstrom as the teenager killer is oddly compelling. It's a powerful subject, hypnotically rendered. And I found myself thinking about my own high school bully. Halfway through the film, my wife asked me, "Are kids that mean? The answer, alas, is yes. And the film shows the ways technology---Facebook and the like---renders cruelty both easier to commit and more harmful The killings in the film are rendered in freeze frame so that we see the horror on the victims' faces, but nothing else. There's plenty of gore, though, in the video games that obsess the teenage killer who commits the massacre. The film is part of the "Hello Herman Project" to create dialogue about school bullying. This compelling film is an excellent tool to get the conversation started between parents and children. Well worth watching.
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