***This review contains some spoilers***
Plot: Torture film, where a group of friends who make a daredevil YouTube show are placed at gunpoint by a crazed fan, to play their game for real.
Cast/Crew: Jessica Cameron directed, wrote and starred in the main role, and featured all of her friends. I’m always worried when someone has that many duties in a single film. She wore her on-screen outfit to the festival the next night! Pretty cool.
• Apart from the opening few minutes, it’s exclusively shot in a small basement, which gets visually tiresome. There’s also no B-storyline so there’s no break from the main story to freshen things up. However you could say it’s relentless and never lets you take a breather.
• Although there’s a few gory shots, it’s mostly cleverly hidden with lots of screaming and blood. They passed out barf bags prior to the showing but no-one puked, although maybe 10 people left (that could’ve been due to ‘we’ve seen enough of this film’ though, but it is genuinely unpleasant).
• I enjoyed the first death, it was a nice shock.
• The “Truth or Dare-Devils” all choose truth to start off, and lie, and all of them have some kind of sexually-related secret (paedophilia, incest, rape, transgender); the paedophile gag is a rib on the actor playing Tony, who’d be “most likely to have been with a 17-year old”! He’s also the best thing about the film, a comedic character. Cameron and the trans play sullen bitches, which is never an entertaining character.
• Lots of “no I’m not doing that”, threaten, “ok I’ll do that”.
• At the start of the film, the actors say “we wanted to make a video that got thousands of hits”, which I find odd, as if you’re on a talk show, you’d more likely have millions each video. Derik (the crazed fan) later uploads his tortuous game snippets for half-million or so hits, so good!
• Cameron herself noted that the actress removed the wrong testicle (right instead of left) but you could explain it saying it’s the patient’s left.
• I always like people escaping their captors, as it changes the situation and dynamic. This doesn’t happen, they don’t even try. It’s annoying as there’s clearly a few opportunities to do so (one instance where Derik puts the gun down and unties them)
• There’s some rough gimmicks (bottle rape, removing an eye with a corkscrew etc) which isn’t pleasant (success!)
• There isn’t any moral quandary or twisted logic, it’s just a fan terrorising these people for what seems like an ice-age.
Cameron did a Q&A afterwards:
She told people to get their film made no matter what, was able to find funding after talking to the right person at a party, gets the film she wants made (i.e. no external input), is jaded with Hollywood horror and is a massive fan of Social Media. She expressed annoyance at women doing one horror and calling themselves a Scream Queen. She based the crazed fan on auditioning actors, saying if she saw Jason (the horror icon), she’d cross the street, but innocuous-looking actors get inside her personal bubble demanding to know what they did wrong to not get the part, which is far scarier. She did mention that there’s a sequel (and wants to but couldn’t find enough cool stuff for a 3rd one); where Derik goes to find Jennifer (Cameron) in an Asylum to finish the game, and they play Truth or Dare with the inmates. I hate to admit it actually sounds very cool.
Overall: I didn’t enjoy this film, I got bored of the premise and the weak characters pretty quickly. It’s low budget so it’s more blood and reaction than gore (like salami nippes!), but the editing hid it well. However the unpleasantness is what Jessica Cameron was going for, and it succeeded. Not my cup of tea. Unless you’re into people screaming for 90 minutes, it’s a definite avoid.