By Jerome Reuter
Synopsis: A group of privileged teenage girls hold a slumber party. They unwillingly become part of a game hosted on social media that involves bullying, revenge and murder.
Social media; it’s just about everywhere theses days. It’s not just a fad; it’s now a part of our everyday life. You can’t go anywhere without it being mentioned, and it’s become the modern form of communication and news sharing. That being said, it’s found its way into the horror film. In 2016, we now have social media horror. Our entertainment reflects the world we live in, so this seems like a logical progression, as odd as it might seem.
The 2015 film #Horror is one of many entries now circulating about. Upon the surface, it looks like an unqualified disaster. After all, who wants to watch something that has a hashtag as part of its title? More importantly, with the rise of independent art house horror, why bother with something such as this? Truth be told, this film possess quite a few redeeming qualities. It also contains quite a few recycled tropes and clichés one might expect. It’s not a complete waste of time, but it’s also not a major cinematic achievement.
The story is centered on a group of entitled preteens hosting a slumber party. Once again, another recycled trope we’ve seen before. However, this one takes an interesting approach to the matter. It deals with the girls’ addiction to social media, and the effects of cyber bullying. It does a very good job at showing how deep some of these issues can affect someone. With any addiction come severe consequences. It also touches base on how vile the class system can be for adolescents. They discuss matters such as body image, social standing, and easting disorders. For what it’s worth, there is a commentary here.
I can’t go much further without talking about the films greatest downfall. Throughout the narrative, we’re constantly reminded that we’re in the middle of a game. This is done by highly animates sequences that pop up throughout the film. Although they try to be edgy, it really takes away from everything else that’s going on. Nothings added when they play out. It’s a failed attempt to give the film a voyeuristic stalker-like approach. They seem so cartoonish, and completely any sort of atmosphere that might have existed otherwise.
Slot machine like graphics aside, there is a general feeling of suspense present. With the events unfolding in an isolated location, we find ourselves getting wrapped up in the narrative. Credit also has to be given to this films cinematography. There are quite a few segments that are shot really well, and utilize a good use of color. At times it heads into found footage territory, but never for to long. In a few interesting moments, we even have a mysterious black gloved hand using a camera phone to stalk the girls. (A la Dario Argento.)
All in all, if you removed the social media angle, what’s left is a decent product. One that touches base on some relevant issues that face today’s youth. It’s worth a watch at least once, and has a storyline that unfold pretty well. If social media based horror is the new slasher, then we won’t see the end for quite some time. However, there’s hope that this subgenre might progress. We can only hope.