Director: Jacob Gentry
Starring: Harry Shum Jr, Kelley Mack, Chris Sullivan, Anthony E Cabral .USA. 1h 44m
Jacobs Gentry’s uncanny valley neon lit thriller is a great diversion for horror fans, but unlike other broadcast horrors it fails to give a satisfactory conclusion to its own question but will raise eyebrows though it’s stunning display of solid drama and a deep dive investigation.
While logging tapes of retro TV Broadcasts, a video archivist, James (Shum Jr.) discovers a disturbing clip that he believes is a sign of early hacking, out of his armchair investigation, James is innocently trying to track down the source but it turns into a deadly cat and mouse chair that night lead to solving a slew of murders.
The look of the intrusion videos’ android in an oddly-proportioned room was copied from early-2000s internet videos of ‘Tara the Android’ a series of clips which stunned the internet and caused a lot of armchair investigator to trip themselves into a rabbit hole or two, but no matter what conclusions were made the unsettling uncanny valley feel the films still causes a raised eyebrow and whispers of a conspiracy.
Overall, while the film is twisting and turning it’s pretty interesting but feels chronically underdeveloped once the “answers” are revealed. Using clips which are so close to an older internet phenomenon might have sparked an air-found footage enthusiasts going back to the source and looking for more answers, but with so many debunking videos is it really something to build a new film on? Maybe some new material would have forced this little film to make bigger waves.
“You killed her didn’t you?”
It’s not perfect, how many films are, but it’s interesting without being highly entertaining. It has a cracking ending but it’s a slog to get there. If it had gone off the rails more and really unnerved its audience throughout instead of saving it for the bitter end, there would be more to grasp and mull over. Either way I hope it’s a building block for bigger and better things for Gentry. There’s lots of obvious brilliance brimming under the surface there.
Lists: Haunted Media