Director(s): Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
Starring: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade, Miles Heizer, Kimiko Glenn, Samira Wiley, Juliette Lewis.
Please note this review contains minor spoilers, but no more than is seen in the trailer.
A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of “watchers.” (Source: IMDb)
Based on the trailer, this film looked to me like pure trash. Well, on that front it didn’t disappoint, but I won’t keeping you hanging around in the good points for too long!
This film is undoubtedly very pretty to look at it; it’s shiny colour palette painting a very bright picture of the not too distant future. It uses the technology of it’s subject matter to it’s advantage, with flashy graphics, text, blips and beeps aplenty. Visually it is far from dull, and at a breezy 96 minutes, it never outstays it’s welcome.
The premise of this film is very intriguing, and I feel like there are some interesting points to be made underneath the garish facade. Particularly the idea of being a “watcher” or a “player” is quite fascinating, and poses an interesting question as it prompts the audience to consider what stance we might take were the game real. It’s a little hamfisted in it’s approach to the thought-provoking nature of our relationship with modern technoloy, but it is in there somewhere!
I’m probably not the right demographic for this film, so there is that to consider, but this film is not good.
Whilst the questions it prompts are interesting, it suffers from a poor script, and terrible acting. Bless Emma Roberts and the other Franco for trying their darndest, but the characters they play are both so vapid and unlikeable that it is difficult to root for anyone.
Halfway through, the film seems to forget it could have potentially had a point to prove, and unravels spectacularly, as it tries and fails to be a normal “thriller”. The conclusion is so utterly ridiculous it’ll make you wonder why they didn’t think of it earlier, and it tries too hard and too obviously to have a moral takeaway that just didn’t need to be there.
As vapid as the kids were, the inclusion of the token adult was one of the biggest things I had a problem with. Juliette Lewis had absolutely nothing to do as Emma Roberts’ mother, and appeared only to exist as the “adult voice”, utterly baffled by what those meddling kids were up to. As this added nothing to the plot, and all attempts at character backstory faded into the background, her inclusion was totally unnecessary.
I saw this movie so you don’t have to. Whilst fully accepting that I am not a teenager and therefore not the target demographic, I still cannot wholeheartedly recommend this film. Sure it’s trashy and throwaway, and I’m sure it will find it’s audience, but it is completely forgettable, inconsequential, and unnecessary.
Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a terribly misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Please let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to share as well.