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The only reason that I-LIVED (now in theaters, limited) caught my interest was because Franck Khalfoun was behind the film. Although I didn’t care for P2 much, I did love what he did with the MANIAC remake and if I go by the trailer it looks like he’s got another winner with the upcoming AMITYVILLE The Reawakening horror film (stop sitting on it Dimensions, release it already!). What about I-LIVED you may ask, a flick I hadn’t even heard of until recently? It was all right…
I’m actually surprised that it took this long for a movie like I-LIVED to get made. I mean apps, our addiction to our phones and our over-dependence on technology is freaking out of hand right now; so a horror film that addresses it was long overdue. As I was clocking this one the 1988 Robert Englund horror flick 976-EVIL kept coming to mind. There were enough similarities between the two for me to take notice. So yeah, I LIVED was this generation’s 976 EVIL but with an evil app instead of a Satan fueled phone horoscope hotline. Kudos to Khalfoun for keeping the shenanigans interesting story wise for at least the first hour of the thing. The progression of the narrative and the turns it took had me by the couillons for the longest time – I cound't wait to know how it would all turn out! The same went down on a visual standpoint; Khalfoun has a great eye, one that he put to good use here in portraying everyday life scenarios and the pure macabre moments. The use of varied formats hit home too! For example Khalfoun's morbid games with webcams double-downed on anxiety and suspense. The ploys worked on this fool! NOTE; Nice visual homage to ANGEL HEART here too! Respect!
On that the film wouldn't have worked without a a solid lead and we got one via the casting of Jeremiah Watkins as our main man Josh. I had never heard of the lad before and upon some research found out that he comes from a stand-up comedian background. I have no idea how his casting came about but he definitely delivered the goods here. Dude was likeable, funny, did the YouTube host thing to a T (i.e. acted like a f*cking moron) but was also able to convey a dark side, one that was more and more prominent as the story unfolded. I dug the guy a lot and hope to see him in other films down the road. And it sure helped matters that Watkins was well surrounded. His co stars Sarah Power (damn that woman was sizzling hot), the intense Elaine Partnow and the funny Christopher Mena all brought in their A-game and upped my enjoyment of the proceedings. Add to all some sly nudges at the internet world we know and love to hate (like not reading the User Agreement before saying Agree) and a pretty cool (if not a bit too repetitive) score (by Mathieu Carratier and Greg Taieb) and you get an engaging little genre film, one that I dug while tapping.
So what’s the rating hold up for this twat? The last act, the last act and the last act. I LIVED was doing so well for its first hour and then… it somewhat dropped the ball for its finale. How? Well for starters, it acted a tad clueless as to how to finish it all off so it tossed everything at me but the kitchen slut that owns the sink! The last act was all over the place to say the least, although far from boring, it was mind numbing that’s for damn shanky! To add insult to insult the big reveal (which was a non reveal cause well, I saw it coming eons away) was handled in a cheesy and almost childish kind of fashion hence spitting on the more grounded and mean spirited hour that preceded it. They could have conveyed the same info in a more subtle and edgy way, alas they decided to embrace the cheese and in my book that cheese could go bleep itself.
Overall, I LIVED was a smarter than the norm statement on today's technology addicted society with a horror twist, too bad it had to go DUH for its last act! Download this app?