Like Me (Overlook Film Festival Review)

Like Me (Overlook Film Festival Review)
4 10

PLOT: A young woman (Addison Timlin) becomes an internet celebrity after posting a video of herself robbing a convenience store. From there, her videos become more extreme, generating an even larger following, which explodes once she kidnaps a paint huffing loner (Larry Fessenden) with a masochistic streak.

REVIEW: LIKE ME is the kind of provocative, experimental fare that would probably go over big-time as a final project for a film school MFA, but feels like an indulgent mess when show to the public at large. Obviously the work of some talented people, LIKE ME is nonetheless a tough slog. Like many low-budget genre films these days, this aims higher, positioning itself as a kind of art-house horror entry in the mold of IT FOLLOWS or THE GUEST, even going so far as to borrow the visual style (full of neons and candy colors) but without any substance to call its own.

The premise would have worked as a short, and sure enough the first twenty minutes or so, where director Rob Mockler gets to flex his experimental muscles with montages that make this a no-go for epileptics, is creatively assembled and cut. Likewise, star Addison Timlin has presence, evoking a sociopathic quality that makes her actions tough to predict, but it goes off the rails big time once she picks up Fessenden’s character, it it becomes a kind of character-study road trip, with occasional dips into extreme territory.

Mockler’s influences are clear to see, with Adam Wingard’s earlier work seemingly a touchstone, as is Harmony Korine’s SPRING BREAKERS. The opening convenience store robbery is well-staged, as it Timlin’s initial seduction of Fessenden, where she ties him to the bed and force feeds him junk food until he vomits - fodder for her online viewers. If this had stuck to genre, one-upping her videos until a devastating end, it might have really paid off. Instead it becomes deadly dull as we get to know Fessenden’s character, who proves to be as much of an outsider as Timlin, leading to a quasi bond. It only zaps back to life when Mockler cuts to montages of her growing social media following and their reactions to her extreme videos. Anyone who’s ever had to deal with online trolls may also get a perverse thrill out of the way she deals with one of her most outspoken critics, but it’s all too small a part of the film.

Overall, LIKE ME is an experimental work, and Mockler has talent - it’s just too self-indulgent to really make any waves among a broader genre community. Only fans of the avant-garde side of the genre need apply - and even then it’s a mixed bag.



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