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The title #Horror had me expecting either a rather generic horror movie with some sort of social media connection, or perhaps something with an unconventional structure like Unfriended that might or might not turn out well. The result turns out to be somewhere in the middle. The narrative is rather straightforward although on first viewing you might wonder the relevance of some things that become clearer after re-watching.
The movie mainly concerns a group of 12-year-old girls who have gathered at the large isolated Connecticut home of Sofia (Bridget McGarry) for a sleepover. Sofia's parents (Chloe Sevigny and Balthazar Getty) have a rather rocky relationship and seem ready to divorce each other any second, but for now they're sharing the house and leaving their daughter a bit neglected. Sofia's dad collects many works of art and has much of it sort of strewn around the house in a disorganized fashion, with the home looking mostly empty like it hasn't really been moved into. He chose the house partly because of a rumor that it was once owned by an artist friend of Andy Warhol, who ended up hosting a party there in the late 60s and ended up killing many of the guests and possibly himself.
The girls' party ends up unsupervised as Dad is out cheating and Mom takes off for some kind of self-help meeting. They are rather cruel to each other, criticizing those whose families aren't as wealthy as theirs (one girl lies a bit to look better) and making fun of their imperfections. One girl named Cat (Haley Murphy) starts tearing into Georgie (Emma Adler) about her weight and suggests she just kill herself, and the other girls decide that's gone a bit too far and throw her out of the house. Since it's in an isolated area, she's pretty much stuck outside until she can reach her dad (Timothy Hutton) who initially doesn't answer the phone. The remaining girls continue their fun until Cat's dad shows up infuriated as he can't find her, giving them a good scare before leaving to keep searching for her. After this, they try to keep having fun but start getting worried, and we also see a camera view from somebody outside who is watching them and taking pictures and video to post online- who could it be?
#Horror isn't especially scary but despite its shortcomings it's oddly watchable primarily because the young cast makes most of it work. Although I don't know their exact ages in real life, they seem very young for this type of movie, when there's been many with an older cast playing much younger characters. While the rich girls' snobbishness seems a bit exaggerated at times, for the most part they seem to play most of it naturally as if they really were having an at-home gathering. Stereotypically they're attached to their cell phones and their confidence levels rise and fall at any on-line postings about them. After Cat is ejected from the party she starts posting more unflattering doctored pictures of Georgie to make her even more upset, but one girl gets the radical idea of everyone ditching their phones and locking them up so they don't have to deal with any more "cyberbullying" for the time being- although some wonder if it's even possible to go for any amount of time without their phone, they agree to do this. Many viewers will soon see that any personality faults these girls have are likely due to their parents, who don't spend a lot of time onscreen but appear as mostly empty, shallow people when they do.
Director Tara Subkoff shoots the movie with a few diagonal angles which work rather well, with the boxy modernistic house serving almost as a character in the movie. Many scenes are punctuated with game graphics and chat text popping up (which has been done in a few movies like Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) which are at first a bit confusing as you aren't quite sure how they relate to the story. Some shots are less than perfect, as an entire camera crew is reflected in a car driving off in one scene, and in a house with so much glass one can't help but look for something similar to show up there. The moment where the angered father confronts the girls is spoiled quite a bit by a reflection of the boom mike and the person holding it. The trailer and packaging briefly mention that this movie was based on "a shocking true story", which seems to be the "Slender Man stabbings" where some young girls nearly killed a classmate to impress a fictional online character- a bit different story than what we see here.
Shot digitally in a 2.35 ratio, the picture quality isn't perfect but suits the tech-based material rather well. Many shots have a grid pattern visible, and there are some compression artifacts that might be more from the source than through any fault in the disc's encoding. Colors suit the cold winter day in which the story takes place.Sound:
The 5.1 mix in DTS Master Audio keeps most of the sound up front, with moments that might have made good use of the surrounds not taking much advantage of them. It still works for the most part, with "E.M.A."'s mostly electronic and experimental music score making good use of the subwoofer. A 2-channel matrix track is also included, and the disc includes hearing-impaired subtitles (which seem to go offscreen a bit too fast in some moments) as well as Spanish subtitles.
The only movie-related extra is a trailer. As this movie left me with many questions about both its story and production, it would have been nice to have some sort of insights included but this is all we get aside from opening trailers for Rabid Dogs, The Hallow and The Pack which must be chapter-skipped through if you just want to watch the movie.
#Horror isn't quite what you would expect from its title, and it's likely to have mixed reactions from many viewers. Though I found it far from perfect, it still had just the right elements that kept me fixated on it during the first viewing and wanting to see it again soon afterwards.
Jesse Skeen is a life-long obsessive media collector (with an unhealthy preoccupation with obsolete and failed formats) and former theater film projectionist. He enjoys watching movies and strives for presenting them perfectly, but lacks the talent to make his own.