A couple of teenage girls are working on a video blog about fashion when one of them commits the faux pas of bleeding from the face after Labor Day. Girl # 2 is concerned about girl # 1. Then girl # 2 is concerned about girl # 2 as her friend attacks her. Girl # 2 gets the upperhand and uses it to club her friend to death with a blow-dryer.
Next we meet Sam (presumably short for Samantha), a hot Angelina Joliesque college student who is trying to reach her boyfriend. When they finally connect via a Skype-like app, he uses that opportunity to dump her. My sympathies were immediately with her, but when I saw her laptop was not an MacBook, I was hers.
She goes to a party that night which is is just an awful scene with alternating so-mo / fast-mo, techno noise, a wacky drunk guy of the type no one thinks is funny after age 14, and a self-centered diva with self-esteem far out of proportion to her looks. This scene is jarringly out of synch with everything that precedes it; and, fortunately, also with everything that follows it.
The gang sees reports of violence and suicides on the news. Being young and stupid, their main concern is whether to cancel their New Year’s Eve party. That discussion is resolved when a zombie rams his arm through the front door and grabs Sam. Another discussion in the bedroom is resolved when a zombie breaks in through the window. Luckily, token black party-goer Steve is able to hurl him off a balcony.
When 9-1-1 has a recorded message, they know shit is real, this not being Detroit. They hear lots of gunfire, sirens and crowds as civilization breaks down. Hmmm, maybe this is Detroit. They take the precaution of boarding up the windows and doors. They also watch the video blog of the fashion-girls, so it is nice to see there is a callback to that scene.
One of the symptoms is hallucinations. When token black Steve starts to hallucinate, it is interesting to see them from his perspective. Steve goes full zombie and the others have to kill him. Steve’s diva girlfriend goes down next, and not in the good way. She also sees the hallucinations and has a very effective — and festive — turn for the worse.
Turns out the Facebook doppleganger in the film — Social Redroom — is to blame. Using subliminal message to track users, it had a few side-effects. There is a cure, or at least vaccine, which is almost worse than the disease as it is administered with a power drill to the skull.
I can highly recommend this movie despite some serious problems. Most importantly, the movie is just awful to look at. I am baffled why so many horror movies, especially low budget ones, think it is a good idea to desaturate the color out of the movie.
The acting is generally OK. It pains me to say the weak link here is Sam. She is beautiful — from some angles, downright amazing — but just doesn’t bring much else to the role; especially in the later scenes where she needs to step up, it just doesn’t happen. I think she probably needs a stronger director than she had here — it wasn’t so much mis-steps in her performance as no-steps.
Most importantly, the film had ideas. I really enjoyed the ending scenario in which shit just kept on piling on right up to the last frame. This was a good one.
- On second thought, maybe the MacBook Apple logo was hidden by a cover; it’s a start.
- The IMDb description says the outbreaks are happening unbeknownst to the group in the house — this really could not be more wrong. They see what is going on in the outside world via a peephole in the door, TV news, social media, webcasts, Skype, basically every form of non-print mass media.
- But I’m sure the newspaper had it covered the next day.