While video chatting one night, six high school friends receive a Skype message from a classmate who killed herself exactly one year ago. At first they think it's a prank, but when the girl starts revealing the friends' darkest secrets, they realize they are dealing with something out of this world, something that wants them dead. Written by
Konstantin Khabensky and Michael Harbig went uncredited in order to not detract any international attention from the main cast, as despite their very minor roles in the film which do not bear their faces they are well established actors in Russia and Germany. See more »
In the beginning of the movie, when Blaire watches the Laura Barns'suicide video on liveleak the timer under the video says that the video lasts 2:30 minutes, but when she puts the video on full screen. the timer says 1:59 instead of 2:30. See more »
[Laura fires upon herself on the high school basketball courts, a female student then screams as the teacher and crowd rush towards Laura's body and Blaire pauses the liveleak video]
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At the start, the Universal logo starts breaking up like a bad connection. See more »
Following the suicide of a schoolmate, six skyping teens find their regular session invaded by a malevolent troll intent on revealing their dark secrets.
Well, it had to be done. I guess the editing of this is extremely clever, and why not try it on a standard ghost story? Windows layered on windows, real time typing and clicking, octobox web cammery, buffering youtube vids, pixellating feeds. It's more pure than Open Windows, but still it doesn't work.
First problem is it's just boring to watch information typed out on screen, even when the deletes suggest the character of the typist. Second is that information jumps around so much you worry you're missing out. And the webcams are so tight on the characters that it becomes really stuffy, creating a constant desire for the relief of wide shots and physical interaction. At the same time I did miss well lit, full screen close-ups.
The director failed to take a lot of short cuts - I really don't need to see everything typed, to have characters say What? to a clear question that then gets repeated, and a few other things. I guess that's down to real-time realism, but hey - it's a ghost story.
The story is OK, similar to Smiley, but the characters do become really irritating. The main girl and her boyfriend start out sympathetic, and there is an overall decay as the secrets come out, but I wasn't really interested, and of course we had to have macho guys shouting and gurning in full "Game over, man!" melt-down. Some of it was down to the limitation of the form - how are actors expected to react in a skype scenario? - but please get some better dialogue.
Music very limited, couldn't be woven into the storytelling - so that cuts out half the usual effect of a horror. The computer squeaks and beeps didn't add anything. A couple of weak jump scares generated purely through silence/NOISE.
The one sequence I did enjoy and which really suited the form and the story was the chatroulette, so that's something to think about.
Overall, it's worth a watch if only to confirm the computer screen is not the movie screen. So far.
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