My dad & I went to see this last night. I rarely see horror movies in the theater, but I thought I would give this one a try. It’s another “found footage” premise & appeared to be this generation’s Blair Witch Project. I admit, I was a little fuzzy on the inciting incident.
A teenage girl, Laura Barns, was the victim of bullying, apparently for a protracted period. A video was posted of her presumably at a party where she was passed out and the implication was she had been raped. Laura then ended up shooting herself on school property. I had a hard time making the connection between the video and how that related to the bullying. The best I can figure is she was somehow blamed for the rape because she was drunk. The story begins on the anniversary of her death.
Five friends, Blaire (Laura’s former BFF), Mitch (Blaire’s boyfriend), Adam (random friend #1), Ken (random friend #2), Jess (random friend #3), and Val (random friend #4) are in a video chat. A mysterious 7th user with a vague handle and no photo appears, too. Blaire determines the account belonged to Laura. At first, the suspect is Val. When she’s added to the call, it can be seen she’s not the one typing. Pictures of her getting wasted are posted and tagged on Facebook supposedly coming from Jess. Jess claims she didn’t post them and is unable to delete them. The mysterious user continues to reveal more pictures of Val, then allows Jess to delete them. They’re warned not to hang up. Val hangs up to call the police. When her video feed comes back on, she’s staring blankly at the screen. A bottle of bleach is sitting next to her. The other ones yell to try to get her attention, but she still doesn’t respond. When the cops do show up, she’s pronounced a suicide. The mysterious user explains this is just the first step at exposing all of their secrets they’ve kept from each other. One rule – don’t hang up.
Ken is the first to make the poor choice of hanging up. The mysterious user shows a video feed that’s coming from Ken’s closet. He hangs up to investigate. When his video feed cuts back on, he has his arm stuck in a blender, then the blades cut his throat. Freaking out ensues. Laura then forces them all to play “Never Have I Ever”. The loser dies. Jess started rumors about Blaire being anorexic. Blaire and Adam are exposed as sleeping with each other after Blaire claims she’s saving herself for Mitch. Mitch ratted out Adam for selling weed. Both Blaire and Adam get printed messages (my printer goes haywire all the time, so there you have it). Mitch tries to get them to show them what the messages say. Blaire finally caves in an effort to placate Mitch. The message reads “If you show anyone this message, Adam will die”. Adam then shoots himself in the head.
Jess goes next with a curling iron shoved down her throat. Mitch stabs himself in the head, and that leaves Blaire all by herself (presumably how Laura wanted it in the first place). Mitch was the one who posted the video, but Blaire refused to say anything until the last second. Blaire tries to show Laura the good times they had growing up. Laura refuses to forgive her and the lights cut out in Blaire’s house. A set of mysterious hands snap Blaire’s laptop shut & she’s heard screaming. The end.
As horror movies go, it was middle ground. It wasn’t terribly graphic which I liked. I thought the curling iron was an interesting weapon of choice. It was also under an hour and a half which was a good idea. Much longer than that and it would have been boring. They relied heavily on the jump scare. I’m a jumper, so they got me there. It was a combination of screwing with your head & seeing the “monster”. The director said that he wanted to address the issue of cyber bullying and how this ain’t your mom’s bullying. It was a cautionary tale for the asshole teenagers who think it’s okay to do shit like that. Frankly, all of them deserved what they got. I ended up rooting for Laura after they started to believe it was really her spirit.
If you have some free time & you’re looking for a slightly updated BWP, I’d go. Otherwise, this isn’t a run to the theater now and see it.
Moral of the story: Don’t post compromising videos of people, then act like it didn’t happen. The vengeful spirit will come back and shove a curling iron down your throat.