This was a film that I heard about on a couple of podcasts I listen to regularly. I wrote this one down on my to-see list and by the time that I got to it as part of my round up for the year, I couldn't remember anything about it. Ideally this is how I go into every film to be honest. The official synopsis for this film is a young woman sets out on a crime spree that she broadcasts on social media.
The first thing I wanted to touch on for this film was that it really is socially relevant. I am somewhat guilty of what this film is trying to get across as a blogger who posts movie reviews and contributes to podcasts on a fairly regular basis. The older I've gotten I've been faced with what is my purpose in this world and I don't want to be forgotten when I'm finally gone. I know this is kind of me opening up here and getting a little bit deep, but I think it is relevant to this film.
We kick this film off as a car pulls into a drive-through store. I believe the man working is Freddie (Jeremy Gardner). He asks what the person driving wants and they say milk. The person then gets out of the car and goes around to the other door, wearing a mask. They are filming and at first Freddie plays along. Things take a turn though when the person who is masked pulls a gun. This causes Freddie to beg for his life and piss himself. The person loses their gun and then flees back to their car.
The person under the mask is Kiya (Addison Timlin). They upload the video to the internet and then are looking at all the views/comments they get. There are a ton of reaction videos, but one really hits her. It is from Burt (Ian Nelson), who calls her out. This forces her to step up the things that she does, which brings her to a hotel with Marshall (Larry Fessenden). She lures him to her room, where she ties him up and forces him to eat until he pukes. She uploads this and gets another harsh reaction from Burt. She kidnaps Marshall and opens up to him.
She then has to decide how far she will go to become socially relevant in the eyes of the internet.
Getting back to my point that I was stating earlier is that this film makes a lot of sense in today's society. Many of us, including me, are so concerned with getting our works out there to share. I'm not saying that it is a bad thing; it actually is a good thing for the most part. The problem though is when you go too far like Kiya. It is even worse as well when you are doing things for everyone's approval which I don't like. Even Marshall's character is doing it to an extent. There is an interesting scene where the two of them open up to each other and Marshall explains that he painted all of the rooms in his hotel. He does them in weird ways, which I just took as his way of expressing himself. He didn't do it for fame, but his way of coping with his life and the tragedy he experienced. In this case, it is similar to me and why I do the reviews I do.
On the other side, we see the dark side of the internet in the form of Kiya. She will go to whatever lengths she can to become popular. This scares me, because this isn't too dissimilar to the mass shootings we see. She is as mentally unstable as many of them and trying to get her 15 minutes of fame. I truly believe that is partially why some of the mass shootings happen. These people do not see any difference between being famous or infamous and glorifying what they do on the news, even if it is negative is what they are going for.
The final angle I want to touch on for this is the Burt character. He is kind of a negative, internet troll. He is pointing out the truth of Kiya's character. The interesting thing though is what happens to him at the end of the film. He is kind of a 'keyboard cowboy' and we see his true character when he is confronted offline. Even though he pushes Kiya to do some of the horrific things she does, I do like the fitting end he gets as well.
I do have to say that the pacing of the film is good. The film only runs 80 minutes and it really flies by. The problem that really comes for this film is that it is arthouse. I don't mean that in a bad way, but it really doesn't form a coherent story. It is more of a film that you have to experience and its deeper meaning is more important than the story itself. Some things are shown allegorically with images from cartoons and flashes of things as well. I did enjoy this aspect, but I do wish we would have gotten more of coherence around it. The ending is somewhat satisfying though, I will give it credit there.
The acting was something that I really enjoyed. Timlin I thought did a great job at embodying the character she is. I felt it was quite believable and she has cuteness to her. I bring this up, because she uses it to her advantage. If this was a male lead, he couldn't do some of the things she does. I thought it really helps this film. Nelson I thought was fine in the role he played. He commands the videos that drive Kiya. Fessenden is great and such a legend in these indie films. Gardner I thought was solid in the role he played as well. The rest of the cast round out the film for what they needed.
Effects for this film were quite amazing as well. We don't get effects in the way of blood or gore. We do get some horrible things happening to Marshall that looked extremely real. The real effects for the film come from the images we get. The colors are vivid and amazing. It really had a feel of like Suspiria or Neon Demon in the vivid colors and the images that are presented. In all I would say that this film looks amazingly beautiful.
The score of the film was something that was also fitting. When we are getting this montage like sequences, we are getting loud, dubstep type music, which is fitting. It really builds on that surreal feel that it was going for. I do think that the musical selections definitely fit the film for what they needed. It isn't a score I will listen to regularly though.
Now with that said, this film isn't going to be for everyone. It isn't the most horrific film out there, but it definitely carries some important elements of the genre. I think the concept of the film and their deeper meanings are amazing for this day and age. The acting that couples with it is great as well. I would have liked to have a story that meshed together better, but being the arthouse style film, I can't hold it against it too much. The effects and soundtrack were great in building the surreal feel that the film was going for. If you want to see an indie film that really looks at where our society and its infatuation with social media, I'd definitely recommend giving this one a viewing.
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