**This movie deals with suicide, self-harm, implied sexual assault, and trichotillomania. If you decide you decide to watch it anyway, there are a few moments that triggered my trypophobia as well. If those are triggering for you, click these words for something much happier (or as a hilarious soundtrack to this review) and wait for next week’s review**
Synopsis: Laura, a psych major, attracts the eye of a girl trying to make friends. This girl, Marina, then proceeds to give Laura horrible nightmares and stalk her on facebook. Turns out, Marina is also a witch and wants to kill everyone Laura knows to make her feel lonely. While Laura cares a little bit about what happens to Marina, she doesn’t care enough to help her, thus all of her friends are murdered and she becomes the new outcast at school.
Year Released: 2016
Director: Simon Vehoeven
Rating: Hell No
Random dude: “When I was in college, there was this girl that used to pull out her eyelashes. She was really lonely all through school.”
Director: “No way, really? Was it because she was part of a satanic cult that sought to make everyone into demons and take over the world?”
Random Dude: “No, she was just a lonely girl that needed some friends”
Director: “Nah, I’m going to make a scary movie about her, mental illnesses are scary!”
Favorite Death: The deaths in this movie are pretty standard; nothing out of the ordinary for a demon-based horror movie. I guess I could say my favorite death was Laura’s boyfriend.
Kobe (or however you spell his name) ends up getting possessed and stabs him through the neck with something. It’s dramatic, realistic, and pretty unexpected.
Funniest Part: There’s this part where one of the main characters is killed in an elevator. He’s made to believe there is an entity and a swarm of bees in the elevator with him. Therefore, he kills himself by repeatedly banging his face up against the walls of the elevator.
On her way to bring this guy food, Izzy takes the elevator to his floor. When the doors open, she sees the blood stained elevator and her friend hurting himself.
She then does this weird thing where she dramatically screams but doesn’t try to help him.
Then SHE ends up in the hospital. While we’re left assuming this guy can be saved because he was alive when she found him, we never see him again and assume he’s dead. However, Izzy arrives at the hospital, has dark circles around her eyes, and an IV. We don’t ever find out why she’s there. My best guess is that she had a psychotic break, but in my experience that’s something you’re admitted to a mental hospital for.
What they did right: Almost all of the jump scares actually got to me. I knew they were coming, but they were so loud and creepy that they really did scare me. Also, some of the images Marina has on her facebook timeline are creepy AF. They made me sick to my stomach to look at because of how realistic they were. Another thing I liked about this movie was the fact that the sounds they used to indicate something bad was about to happen was the same sound cellphones make when they interfere with signals. I thought that was really clever and cool.
Special effects and lighting: These were really on point actually. The dead bodies and deformed faces were believable and disgusting. The lighting was tricky enough to hide what didn’t look professional, and the CG used for the bugs and jump scares was pretty realistic
What I thought would happen: This was a very predictable movie; I figured it would happen exactly as it did. What I wasn’t expecting was the end. It made me really mad, but I’ll talk about that later.
Alright, so this movie starts out as a professor walks into a classroom. He tells his college-aged students that one of their classmates has committed suicide. He then tells them that there is a video of it, but they shouldn’t watch it. For a moment I thought it was going to be The Ring all over again, but it wasn’t, so we’re good.
We’re then swept back in time a few weeks to when Laura and her roommates are giggling over a cat video. Here we meet Izzy (a brunette that brings this movie some much needed chubby girl representation) and Oilvia (the standard blonde character that’s religious, though that’s never made relevant).
Laura is a psych major. Though we never find out why she chose that major, I assume it’s because she wants to help people. Not everyone goes into the psych field to become a neuropscyhologist like me.
This is made ironic when a girl that sits alone at the back of the classroom becomes obsessed with her. Marina is a girl known to others as weird and strange. She also has a mental disorder called trichotillomania. If you’re not familiar with this affliction, it’s a compulsion to pull out hair. Those who have this pull out hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes most commonly. In this case, Marina does all three. She has a large bald spot on the back of her head, thinned eyebrows, and no eyelashes.
The movie uses this to make her seem scary and “other” but please don’t do that if you meet someone suffering with this. It can be made worse if the person has depression or anxiety so shunning them will make it worse and can sometimes lead to more extreme forms of self-harm.
I’m sorry to get so serious there, I was a psych major in college too and seeing people represented in movies like this really grinds my gears. I hate that movies like these exist and reinforce stigmas against people with illnesses out of their control.
Okay, so we meet Marina. She becomes obsessed with Laura. One day Marina sends Laura a friend request on this film’s version of Facebook. After she looks over her feed, Laura can see that Marina is an extremely talented artist. She’s done animations and has some really cool artwork. What Laura neglects to do is scroll ALL the way down to the gory, creepy photos Marina has posted of dead bodies, haunted houses, and demonic symbols. Because she only sees the cool stuff, Laura decides to add her on as a friend.
This is the best clip I could find, I wanted to include it because I won’t do this style justice if I try to tell you about it. This doesn’t show you the animation of her dream, but it captures the style.
Marina then sends her multiple messages. She doesn’t stalk her in real life, she’s not asking for money, she’s simply lonely and just wants a friend. She’s so desperate to be seen and cared for that her messages become repetitive and annoying. The weirdest thing is when Marina photoshops a photo of the two of them together. So naturally, Laura decides to block her. This then sends Marina into a rage after which she kills herself.
She films the suicide and somehow sets it up to post through Laura’s facebook profile. Laura then can’t delete it or her account. This causes her to lose all of the friends she had. Because, you know, facebook friends are an accurate representation of the friends you have in real life.
Now here, I have a big issue. This movie might be using a fake version of Facebook, but I feel as if photos of actual dead bodies, spammy messages, and a literal video of a suicide might raise some flags. Out of all 800+ friends Laura has, not a single one reported her video to the social media site?
The site would then most likely try and remove her account, then realize someone/something had hacked the mainframe. It then could have become a bigger-than-them problem and get really cool. I would have loved to see that movie.
But none of that happened. Marina turns out to have completed some kind of ritual that allows her to come back to the world after she’s dead as a demon. I realize that’s why the whole social media thing is malfunctioning, but still, that last thing would have been cool. Anyway, she’s dead now and starts killing off Laura’s friends by subjecting them to hallucinations.
Deaths include being thrown out of a window, hallucinations of suicide, and smashing their face against the walls of an elevator. Olivia, the blonde roommate, is even seen holding a cross necklace at one point. I thought maybe that would protect her a bit from the demonic presence and she would recommend exorcising it, but that doesn’t happen. In fact, the movie never mentions her necklace or religious affiliation after the brief moment we see the cross she’s wearing.
After all of her friends are dead, Laura finds out that Marina was actually an orphan. Her mother was used as a sacrifice in a satanic ritual of some kind and what family she had was killed in a fire. Marina is then placed in a group home/orphanage. Two boys terrorized her, I assume they sexually assaulted her in some way, but we never see it happen. However, something she doesn’t like happens and the next scene we see blood on the walls so it’s implied she’s killed or injured them.
So the secret of why Marina is creepy comes out. She’s a tortured soul that just wanted to make one friend. That’s fine. She’s literally every awkward girl sitting in the back of your math class too self-conscious to make friends. The issue I have is that this movie demonizes that.
If you’re going to demonize something, maybe stay away from those with actual demons plaguing them all day every day.
Okay, Now I want to talk about the ending. All of Laura’s friends are dead, she finds out that Marina is a demon and wants her to be lonely, that’s all its own thing. But the worst part of this movie is the ending. This affected the rating I gave it so much it bumped down from Passable to Hell No.
Laura is reeling from watching her friends die in front of her at the house where the satanic ritual took place. She’s on her way home when she suddenly sees a mirror on a tree, similar to one from an animation Marina did on her Facebook page. Laura looks into the mirror, then turns around and demonized Marina is standing behind her then lunges at the camera.
I thought that was the end and I was a little mad….
Then some more of the movie played. It showed the school, kids in the cafeteria, etc. Then at the back of the lunchroom at her own table in a hoodie, with dark circles under her eyes sits Laura. AS IF SHE’S THE NEXT MARINA. This made me even more mad, let me tell you why:
Marina is a tortured soul. She’s had so many terrible things happen to her and all she wants is a friend. Laura seems like she comes from a well-off family and has a fairly normal life. Marina also has some mental illnesses that make socializing awkward and she’s likely self-conscious. Laura has four close friends and is beautiful.
To abuse the fact that Marina has a mental illness and PTSD and all the other things that come from her past is one thing, but to make it completely obsolete by making Laura “the new Marina” is just too far. It made me so furious and I really hate this movie after seeing that one scene.
If you want to watch this movie, go for it, just don’t let it influence your perception of people with mental illnesses. Because guess what? We are people too.
Last Week’s Review: 47 Meters Down
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