By Imara Ikhumen
“#Horror” is a strange and strangely intriguing film, written and directed by Tara
Subkoff, concerning the topic of cyber-bullying amongst a group of six 12 year-old girls. This thought provoking independent mystery/thriller/horror piece serves as her directorial debut.
The film is well-crafted and frightening in a different way than one would anticipate as the opening credits rolled. Nearly a dozen murders take place in the film, but the scariest part is not the killing, it is rather the severity of the cyber-bullying and the fact that it is based on true events. Nevertheless, Subkoff managed to create a setting that was unsettling and beautiful at the same time. When asked about the backdrop, which was a gorgeous and secluded mansion in the forest during wintertime, Subkoff has stated that she finds that winter is the scariest season for its darkness, harshness, and isolation of the season. Anyone who appreciates a backdrop that is so intense that it becomes a character in itself would give a bold thumbs up to the set designers and cinematographer.
In addition, the fear that comes with watching a group of girls who have not even reached their teens behave as ruthless monsters is frequently juxtaposed with indirect messages about the younger generations’ abuse of technology and how it is affecting people’s lives. The first message comes in the form of a brief back in forth between the character Sam who asks if everyone could just stop looking at their phones or turn it off for a bit, and her friend Sophia simply replies “That’s impossible. No one can do that”. Then there is a short pause. The incident seems simple, and would appear to be meaningless at face value, but it a testament to the new style of writing that Subkoff has chosen to incorporate.
This new style is using the horror and thriller genres to create a piece that does more than entertain the viewers or get their hearts racing, but to also function as a social commentary and to bring awareness of a serious issue to the general public. Usually, writers use dramas or documentaries to make statements about flaws in society, but she has created a piece that can appeal to nearly anyone whether they are looking to be scared, forced to think, or to solve a mystery. However, no matter what one is looking for in watching the film, the question about where we are heading as a society shines through.
“#Horror” is endlessly successful in conveying this clearly and creatively.
“#Horror” is currently showing in select theaters.
Imara is a Contributing Writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.