Inspired by actual events, a group of 12 year old girls face a night of horror when the compulsive addiction of an online social media game turns a moment of cyber bullying into a night of insanity.
Holy shit you guys, this movie is absolutely fucking terrible, I can’t possibly sugar coat that, or make it any simpler to understand. This movie is atrocious. Supposedly inspired by actual events, though the Wikipedia page seems to say that those “events” were the fact that the director knew someone affected by cyber-bullying, but I digress, and feel free to send me the real story.
Now, I recognize that when it comes to movies about bullying, or teens in peril, we are supposed to take them seriously because BULLYING YOU GUIZ, and I’m sure some people will give this movie more credit because of that, but the movie is just fundamentally broken on every front. Writing, acting, editing, production, the whole movie doesn’t work, and it was a genuine chore to get through. While some may consider the ending to be “totally fuuucccckkkked upppppp”, there’s just nothing there and if there is, it’s buried deep under a huge pile of confusion and garbage.
The first issue I had with this were the actors. The teen girls cast in this movie are awful. Their characters are completely unredeemable and unpleasant, and the performances given from all of them border on being totally unwatchable. We essentially spend the first hour and ten minutes (no, that’s not an exaggeration), watching these girls be horrible to each other, and watch their garbage parents be horrible as well. There’s not one character in the movie who I had much sympathy or care for. They make attempts to create sympathetic characters, giving some of them ham-fisted back stories regarding suicide or just having them be taunted for their weight. Now, I don’t mean to say that teens don’t have bad lives, or hard times, or taunt each other, but the way that they are portrayed here creates an insanely unbelievable bunch of human beings. Nothing feels genuine, with the exception of the total and complete obsession with their cellphones.
On the topic of their cellphones, the girls all seem to be obsessed with the same app, which is some kind of bizarre combination of Candy Crush and Instagram that amounts to a senseless mess that fill the screen with indecipherable nonsense for a third of the running time. This is present immediately in the credits, which are absurdly fast for absolutely no reason, and the faux app just feels cheap and stupid. The kids obsess over this app and you’re forced to watch them post on it for 45 excruciating minutes.
There are a couple of recognizable faces in the movie, primarily Chloe Sevigny (American Horror Story), who I know for a fact can do SO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS. You also get a brief appearance from Taryn Manning (Orange is the New Black), and Natasha Lyonne (Orange is the New Black), who are all fine actors, but they just have nothing to do in this movie. One thing that I will give credit to this movie for, however, is the huge number of female characters that star here. This is such an unfortunately rare thing in horror, and I don’t want to discourage a female-fronted film ever. With that said though, the characters and actors in this movie are just wasted on such a weird mess of a film.
#Horror was the writing/directoral debut of actress Tara Subkoff (The Cell, The Notorious Betty Page), and I say again I love seeing women making horror movies, but this is just a mess from all fronts. Maybe it’s just a case of first-time jitters, or something to that effect, but the movie just doesn’t work and tries to pull of some bizarre style elements that feel awkward. There’s a certain vibe of “Hello fellow kids” throughout this whole movie, that you usually see with adults trying to related directly to teenagers without gathering much context.
Now, there are a couple of genuinely interesting and effective shots in the movie, but that’s kind of like saying that an album with one good song on it is a good album. The pieces do not make a cohesive whole, and the movie falls really flat. The shots that work do give me hope for the future, but that could also be due to cinematographer Learan Kahanov, but I’m not familiar enough with their work to really say for sure.
Yes, bullying is real, yes kids are horrible monsters to each other, regardless of all that, this movie really sucks. Give it a hard pass.