by Shannon McGrew
Bullying is something that most of us have dealt with in one way or another - some worse than others. Unfortunately, it seems that the rise in bullying is being seen through cyber-bulling. We've all heard different stories of cyber-bullying and kids being mean to other kids, but one of the biggest stories to come out this year was about two 12 year old kids in Wisconsin who stabbed a classmate of theirs to appease the fictional character, "Slender Man." I'm sure you are wondering why I'm bringing this up, since I'm here to review a horror movie. You may not have heard of the indie horror movie, #Horror, by director Tara Subkoff, but the film is based on the events of the "Slender Man" killing as well as the rise in cyber-bullying.
#Horror is about a group of over privileged 12 year old girls who decide to have a sleepover and a night of fun. However, as the evening goes on, we get insight into how much bullying can hurt someone since the girls are addicted to an online social media game aimed at bullying other people. This then leads to the introduction of a masked killer who is stalking the girls and may or may not be participating in their online game.
I'll start by saying that this movie is not perfect. There are many plot holes and just as many questions left unanswered. However, the movie does bring to light how much cyber-bullying can affect someone, to which I give credit to Subkoff for bring out in the open, especially in such a violent way. The film plays out more like an art house film which I didn't hate since the set design and the costume designs were incredible. However, I wish that Subkoff paid more attention to the story rather than to the visuals.
#Horror stars some pretty big names including Chloe Sevigny, Timothy Hutton, Balthazar Getty, and Taryn Manning. Chloe Sevigny, who plays the mother of one of the girls and Timothy Hutton who plays the widowed father of another girl, were terrific. I typically like both of them in most roles but I really liked their acting in this film. They are not characters that you are going to love, I"ll put that out there, but they are characters that are clearly struggling and coming to terms with a lot of issues. I think Subkoff did a great job of showing how some wealthy parents are with their kids - especially with how society is today. We are so often glued to technology that we don't see whats going on around us and our family until it's too late. However, I have to give the girls (Sadie Seelert, Haley Murphy, Bridget McGarry, Blue Lindenberg, Mina Sundwall, and Emma Adler) the majority of the acting credits because they stole the show. I don't know whats more frightening - a masked killer or 12 year old girls promoting eating disorders, poking fun at sexual orientation, and wishing their friends would commit suicide.
In conclusion, I find this film to be part brilliant and part failure. I didn't hate it but I wished Subkoff would have taken the time to flesh out more of the characters stories and not leave us questioning so many things. I will say I applaud her, and other directors, that are willing to bring huge issues to the forefront. I loved all the visuals of the film and I thought the acting was terrific, I just wish there was something more. I think if you've been bullied in the past (or have been the one that has bullied others) you should take the moment to watch this film as it does leave an impression. However, if you are looking for a fun, gory horror movie, this may not be the one for you.