There have been times in my life that as a gay man I have felt like there is a part missing from my life, because I don’t have children. There was even a time, about ten years ago, I seriously thought about adopting a child. After watching #HORROR, I never want to have any interaction with children, pre-teens, or teenagers ever again. When people say, “teenagers can be so cruel”… they aren’t bullshitting.
Instantly #HORROR makes me think of a modern take on CURTAINS. CURTAINS is a great mix of American slasher films and Italian giallo films. The rural environment, the over-privileged twats, the winter wonderland — all really got my hopes up. Unfortunately, the similarities ended there.
The main characters, a group of pre-teen girls, Sam (Sadie Seelert), Georigi (Emma Adler), Sofia (Bridget McGarry), Francesesca (Mina Sundwall), Cat (Haley Murphy), and Ava (Blue Lindeberg) are having a sleepover, and can’t seem to separate their smart phones from their hands. They are all so typical and self-absorbed. Everything has to be tweeted, and posted, and everything has a really mean hashtag to it. So, #HORROR is a very appropriate title for the movie. I can’t stand any of these little bitches, but I am sure that’s the point. Teenage girls are the worst.
Thankfully, the rest of the cast really appealed to my inner-’90s indie movie nerd. Chloë Sevigny, Natasha Lyonne, and Timothy Hutton playing the girls’ shitty parents really saved #HORROR for me. I’ve been a fan of these three for decades, and their performances here really sustained my love for them.
The candy-colored credits seemed very relevant to the topic of social media. The whole movie came across as very Japanese with the awkward shots. #HORROR was campy without being over the top. I think I would have preferred the film more if they had made it campier. Fuck, if John Waters (FEMALE TROUBLE), Jamie Babbit (BUT I’M A CHEERLEADER) or Todd Stephens (ANOTHER GAY MOVIE) directed #HORROR, it could have been amazing! Just imagine if Todd Solondz had directed this and made it more like WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE, I would probably be a huge fan. At least in WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE the torment of the teenage girls is awkwardly funny. In #HORROR, it’s downright hard to watch. I’m glad that I don’t have to deal with teenage girls.
The use of juvenile girls, horrible stereotypes used as dark humor, and the obnoxious neon-colored social media flashes across the screen, brought to mind the Asian “sushi typhoon” film movement. As much as I like the poor taste of VAMPIRE GIRL VS. FRANKENSTEIN GIRL, it doesn’t work here. It’s completely unnecessary and at most times it takes the viewer out of the moment. Most of the movie, I wanted to be taken out of the moment… these brats are so damn annoying! Let’s get to the killing already!
The dialogue didn’t seem scripted. Is there even a script at all? It seemed improvised. I can dig that. It was reminiscent of KIDS. If you told me that Harmony Korine or Larry Clark directed this, I’d believe you: Very much in their style. Young kids behaving badly, bullying gone awry, and somebody getting killed, it’s all there.
Finally Cat’s father — Cat being the girl who was forced to leave the party by the other little brats –shows up after getting a troubling text. The whole tone of the movie changes. Maybe something remotely close to a horror movie will happen now. Nope. Still nothing. Out of all the girls, Sam (the girl from a working-class family who all the rest of the girls made fun of) is the only tolerable adolescent character. The parents are so out of touch with how horrible their daughters are it’s ridiculous, but that at least seems realistic.
Finally, an hour and 12 minutes into #HORROR, there is a dead body! I wanted to turn this movie off so bad, but realized I was too involved and I needed to find out who the killer is. It’s no surprise, really, and I was left feeling let down, but at least the mask the killer wears is similar to the one from ALICE SWEET ALICE.
There is almost nothing conventional about the cinematography in #HORROR. #HORROR is not a movie made for horror movie fans — it’s made for indie arthouse film fans. I’m honestly hoping that this is not the edit or final cut that director Tara Subkoff wanted. #HORROR is hard to watch, and not for any fun reasons. I hate to sound so negative, because I did like it, but in all good faith I would have to say SKIP IT.
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