'#Horror': Film Review
Virtual terror becomes actual terror for a group of tween girls in Tara Subkoff's horror film.
As if it wasn't bad enough that social media is invading every facet of our everyday lives, now it's taking over the movies too. Case in point: Tara Subkoff's directorial debut #Horror, about cyberbullying teenage girls who become prey to a savage killer, although not nearly fast enough. Here's a hot tip: If you're pronouncing the title "Pound Sign Horror" rather than "Hashtag Horror," this film is not for you.
Director Subkoff is also a noted artist and fashion designer (and often referred to as an "It Girl" of the '90s, whatever that means), and her strong visual sense is amply on display in this stylish, gorgeously shot exercise. The action is set largely in an expansive, modernistic glass house that will make real estate brokers drool. Filling the house are garish pop art pieces that will make anyone with taste gag.
The rudimentary plot concerns a group of 12-year-old rich girls who tease, ridicule and emotionally abuse one another with abandon, both online and in person. The online element is conveyed in a series of animated graphics resembling everything from Twitter to Candy Crush, popping off the screen in a hallucinatory way that will induce serious headaches in any viewers past their tweens.
Several of the girls' parents show up now and again, to register either bored tolerance or angry displeasure. Representing the former is Alex (Chloe Sevigny, decked out in a series of smashingly sexy outfits), whose husband (Balthazar Getty) is cheating on her (not to worry, adulterers in horror films generally get what's coming to them). Representing the latter is the recently widowed Dr. White (Timothy Hutton), whose daughter Cat (Haley Murphy) has been acting out since her mother's death.
Although carnage at the hands of a masked slasher eventually occurs, the film's most intense scene involves the doctor showing up at the house frantically looking for his missing daughter, who's been bullied. Hutton, normally seen in nice guy roles, is a wonder here, his character registering so much furious indignation and contempt for the bratty girls that one suspects the actor chugged a dozen Red Bulls before the cameras rolled.
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Infusing its generic horror tropes with vaguely satirical aspects, the film doesn't really work on either level. Unintentionally campy (or purposely, it's hard to tell) and marred by ridiculous plotting and dialogue, #Horror is mostly just a horror.
Production: Lowland Pictures
Cast: Chloe Sevigny, Timothy Hutton, Natasha Lyonne, Balthazar Getty, Taryn Manning, Stella Schnabel, Sadie Seelert, Haley Murphy, Bridget McGarry, Blue Lindberg, Mina Sundwall, Emma Adler, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Lydia Hearst
Director/screenwriter: Tara Subkoff
Producers: Tara Subkoff, Oren Segal, Brendan Walsh, Jason Ludman
Executive producer: Urs Fischer
Director of photography: Learan Kahanov
Production designers: Daniel Subkoff, Tara Subkoff
Editors: Catrin Hedstrom, Janice Hampton
Costume designer: Kim Selfridge
Casting: Eva Battagia
Not rated, 90 min.