Bullying is horrible, we all agree on this, at times it can lead to terrible consequences. In #horror, a story based on true events, first time writer and director Tara Subkoff shows what happens when the bullying of one girl by her rich friends goes too far. Here we are shown teen girls mercilessly taunting and verbally abusing each other over and over again. But it’s ok, because you laughed…
In Tara Subkoff’s directorial debut, which she also wrote, the subject is indeed worthy of the name “horror” and absolutely worth exploring. However, most of the film feels like it’s trying a bit too hard. The rich characters with so much money they have art and jewelry they can afford to have little girls play with, those same little girls constantly complaining and bullying each other added to their parents all lead to character that not very engaging. By the end of the film, almost all we know about these characters is that they are rich with mainly rich people’s problems, with the exception of one girl and her mom. They all love themselves more than anyone else, and they all are fairly despicable. The characters in this film are not particularly interesting or engaging making it hard for the viewers to care about them or to care if they live or die.
The two actors that deserve to be noted here, albeit for much different reasons, are Chloe Sevigny as Alex Cox, the mom hosting the sleepover/party and Timothy Hutton as Dr. White, the grieving father of the first shunned girl. Sevigny is her usual self here, showing talent and that she can make just about any character interesting. Timothy Hutton on the other hand out Nicolas-Cage’s Nicolas Cage, his acting is so exaggerated it becomes comical at times. He steals every scene he’s in and adds a level of schlock to the proceedings that is like a breath of fresh air in this too serious for its own good film. The teenage girls almost all feel interchangeable, like none of them really matter as they are only fodder for bullying and for killing. The acting is mostly decent but quite forgettable unfortunately.
The effects here are kept to some blood as some of the characters’ deaths are fairly brutal but in the long run they do not have much impact as most of it and most of the potential suspense or building sense of dread are destroyed each time the fake apps come on screen with their loud colors and garish patterns. These intrusions quickly become annoying and do not add much if anything. Cyber-bullying is a problem in society and for these girls, we get it, but no need to put likes, comments, and stickers on the screen as if the audience cannot comprehend that some of the damage is done online without having it shoved down their throat. The message can come across with these and would most likely have a better impact if all of this was not anywhere near it. This aspect of the film made it feel cheap and as if it was trying a bit too hard to pass its message to teenagers.
With all of this being said, it must be added that the film looks stunning, when the darn apps aren’t on the screen. The cinematography shows the lush settings of some of the scenes and the cold of others beautifully well. The story may not have much to keep the attention but the way this film looks will keep the attention of almost anyone.
#horror is a film that tried very hard to be cool and relevant while talking about current issues that affect most teenagers nowadays such as bullying in the real world and online, while also trying to relate a story based on real events, but it only manages to bore and annoy. Timothy Hutton saves this from being a complete waste of time by chewing the scenery like a pro, bringing the only interesting scenes of this film with him once his characters goes away. #horror is not entertaining or interesting even with this performance which is sad as it has a worthy subject matter.