I typically like to include photos in these reviews. However, for this one, I’d like to show you exactly what I saw when I searched for them:
Almost EVERY. SINGLE. PHOTO is from the ONE scene where Sasha Grey shows her boobs.
In silent protest, this screen cap will be the only time you see photos from this movie because it’s already bad without the overt sexism within it’s fan base.
Synopsis: A guy wins a contest to go on a date with his favorite actress. Unfortunately for him, it was all a ruse to entrap him into a secret ring of hackers that have an affinity for BDSM and explosions.
Year Released: 2014
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Rating: What did I Just Watch?
Director: Get this, a guy falls in love with an actress whose never shown her boobs in public, so he tricks some other guy into taking the blame for hacking into her phone, security cameras, and computer so he can see them.
Favorite Death: You know, I don’t think there are actually any on-screen deaths in this movie. Chord is left in a burning building which I guess is okay, but
Funniest Part: There are many, so here’s a few of my favorites
On the back cover of the movie, the genre is described as a “found footage techno-thriller” and I have no idea what that is, but I love it.
In the beginning of the film, we learn that Jill and Tony are having an affair, because Chord is disgusting person, he tells Nick to set up a camera to watch them have sex and to turn off the lights so they can’t see him, you know, in a giant wall of other identical hotel rooms that are at least 200 feet away. Unfortunately for the gross boys, Jill leaves before there is any hanky panky to watch. Tony then stares out of the window forlornly and notices, although he doesn’t have a camera zooming into Nick’s room, that there is a camera pointed at their room from Nick’s room.
There are these things in this movie called “ping pong” cameras. I don’t know what these do or if these are real. frankly, I don’t care if they are, I just know that they’re dumb and there’s no way they work like this movie wants you to think they do.
In this movie these cameras are used several times to make 3D models of whatever is around the cluster of cameras that are for some reason always on and also streaming a live feed to not only Nick’s computer, but also the French hackers’. They’re used once to help Jill escape the trunk of a car and then again when Jill and Nevada make it to the underground bunker. It looks like a windows movie maker effect that was built into the software.
What they did right: They hired Elijah Wood to play a part in this movie.
Special effects and lighting: Aside from the fact that 75% of this movie happened in a car, the lighting was good enough to see what was happening but not brilliant by any means. If I found out that this entire movie was filmed with actual webcams, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least.
What I thought would happen: I thought that Nick would get blamed for something related to the hack and that maybe, using the date as a lure, they would kill her or blackmail her and blame him for it. It actually kinda seemed like they were moving in that direction, but then changed their mind halfway and did something else, the covered it in a giant fire.
Also, with the whole Nevada subplot, thanks to the hair I saw poking out from underneath a hat at one point, I thought Nevada was going to turn out to be Jill’s actual boyfriend that’s only mentioned twice. He’s kinda swept under the rug, so that twist would have actually revealed that he was insane and might have made a better movie.
There were special features on this DVD, but because it’s taken me a week to get this review written, I didn’t have time to go back and watch what they were. I hope to turn this section into a review of any special features the disc has, but for this week, it just wasn’t possible.
My inspiration for choosing this movie was actually the director/writer. First of all, his name is Nacho. Secondly, he directed this movie called The ABC’s of Death. I think I might have mentioned this movie once or twice before, but it’s an anthology of mostly really really REALLY bad short horror films. Knowing how bad that movie was, I just had to see what else this guy could do. I also found out, thanks to the Wikipedia page that was almost mandatory to summarize what happened here, that this was his first movie made in the English language. This explains some of what made this movie bad, but not really.
So, we start out with a scene from a zombie (?) movie. We’re not really sure, all we do know is that a chick with telekinesis is smashing bowling balls through the heads of men dressed like apocalypse survivors while humans with glowing eyes walk around like zombies. This is the extremely long clip at the beginning of the movie to let us all know that one of the main characters is an actress. We then zoom out from that screen to reveal that it was actually a trailer for Jill Goddard’s new movie and she and the production team are at some kind of convention/screening of the trailer. Zooming out even further, we learn that Nick Chambers, the main character of the film, is watching the screening from a live stream on his computer.
We soon learn that he’s actually there because he won a contest to go on a date with Jill after the screening. Nick also happens to run fansite about Jill, posting creepy pictures of her from different events. He even goes as far to say that some of his photos were the first of hers, insinuating that he was stalking her long before she was a movie star. Ew.
Nick then gets an email from the production team asking him to send them a video introduction. Why this would be important if this entire contest was legitimate is beyond me, but we’ll get to that whole ordeal in a bit.
So Nick gets this email and makes a video introducing himself. Almost immediately after he sends the video, a random someone calls him through his computer. He tells him his name is Chord. In a movie with characters named Nick, Jill, and Pierre, his name is Chord, but whatever.
So Chord claims to be Jill’s manager or something and tells Nick the date has been cancelled by Jill without giving a reason why. He then, and I mean pretty much right then, tells Nick, and I’m paraphrasing here, but it’s going to be close to the actual dialogue “hey Nick, wouldn’t it be cool to hack into Jill’s phone and see her from different security cameras? I can totally do that, look!” then “Jill’s manager” hacks into her phone and some security cameras that can see right down her shirt. Chord then says something like “she’s never shown her boobs before, that’ll be great for that creepy ass fansite you’ve got, snap some pics!”
At this point I’m concerned about Nick as a character. Now, Nick is played by Elijah Wood. He’s a wonderful actor in my opinion and has a very expressive face. However, in these beginning scenes he looks like a deer in the headlights, terrified to be invading this girl’s personal space, but isn’t saying that he is. To me, this means hat Elijah Wood is a normal person and even though the same person who wrote the movie also directed it, he didn’t think to tell Elijah that he was actually supposed to be a dick. But anyway…
Oh yeah, I should mention that Chord is smart enough to hack a LOT of stuff throughout this movie, but for some reason can’t hack into Jill’s camera without turning off the microphone. This means that at any time, Nick, who for some reason has control of it, could just turn up a volume bar and talk to her through her own phone. He does this literally once and at the worst possible time because of course he does.
Moving on, through some very awkward, obviously recorded separately facetime and phone calls between Jill and her boyfriend (who I guess she has for the sake of media and is never mentioned again) and her agent Tony, Nick and Chord learn that she’s having an affair with her aforementioned agent. The two rendezvous in a hotel room on the other side of Nick’s room. One of the man hilarius parts of the movie occurs and the whole movie gets going. I should also mention that this movie has this whole subplot that involves some other hackers that were French (though I’m not sure because they all have different accents). They show up on Nick’s computer and keep referring to him as “Nevada.” Even though he corrects them, they still do it. Strangely enough, when we’re initially introduced to the French hackers, they’re all wearing these headband things that look like the lit up eyes from the zombies in the film from the first scene. We never learn why this parallel is drawn, but it doesn’t matter anyway because they eventually reveal their faces. Another thing that happens is that when Tony eventually ends up in Nick’s hotel room, he gets tazed, tied up, and gagged with a giant freaking BALL GAG. Yeah, there are a lot of themes of bondage in this film. I’m not trying to kink shame here, I just thought the amount of people that get tied up in this movie is way too high for what I thought this movie would be about.
Once the incident with the hotel room is over, it’s revealed that Chord isn’t just Jill’s manager. He’s something much worse, we just don’t know what yet. He threatens to show the footage he’s collected from cameras he installed in the hotel room to the authorities if Nick doesn’t do what he asks. He barks orders at Nick who then takes the laptop with him in the car and somehow maintains his battery and Wi-Fi signal throughout the rest of the film.
Since what I just explained to you was only the first five minutes of the film, I’ll speed things up here for your benefit. Just an FYI the entire rest of the film from this point on happens in a car. That’s not really important, I just thought I would mention it because it screams low budget and makes me laugh. Nick realizes that Chord is a bad dude and Jill is actually in trouble. He reveals that the contest was a hoax and forces Nick to follow Jill to her house. The hackers then contact Nick again and rather than dispute the fact that he’s not Nevada, he takes on the role and uses them to combat Chord’s attempts to spy on Jill. While they do this in the background, Chord asks Nick to send a file to Jill’s computer that he also gained access to. Jill is home completely alone with no guards or roommates. Not only that, but she’s about to take a shower because that’s the only thing women in horror movies are good for.
Nick, finally sticking up for himself refuses to send the strange file to Jill’s computer until he knows what it is. Chord then shows him he can easily attack Jill if Nick doesn’t do what he asks without actually answering his questions. Nick, being a doofus, sends the file. The file is a live feed to Tony back at the hotel room with that giant ball gag in his mouth but there’s a twist! The gag is electrified! Jill is horrified to see what’s happening and because these are two gross boys, Chord convinces Nick to type messages to Jill asking her to get naked for the camera to set Tony free. After some extremely awkward sexting on Nick’s part via the live stream to her computer, Chord leaves, having exactly what he needs to now blackmail her.
Are you bored yet?
I’m bored. I hated this movie so much, I can’t even describe how much I hated it. Okay speed round! Turns out Chord is the super fan and actually wants to take over the site that Nick runs so it becomes the most famous Jill Goddard fan site ever. Why he can’t just ask Nick politely to become partners in a less blackmail-y way, I don’t know. So, Chord kidnaps Jill after the strange strip tease and takes her to a warehouse full of, you guessed it, explosives. After abruptly leaving his conversation with Nick during the strip tease, he went off on his own to fill each Jill Goddard fan site with a countdown to a live video of it. However, when the countdown ends, Chord is live streaming Jill sitting in the warehouse. To prove that people don’t actually care about her, he says that if the viewers want Jill to live, they should leave the site now. No one leaves and we’re left wondering why he wants to divert traffic away from what is essentially the most popular Jill Goddard fan site at that moment, i.e. his entire reason for stringing Nick along for the last few months.
Before I tell you the end, let me give you a rundown of the whole Nevada plot line at least, I’m going to try because like I said earlier, this review took a week to finish writing because of my new insane life. So, Nevada is supposed to be this insanely talented hacker that is one person, yet multiple people at the same time. Essentially, it’s like a code word for an organization that commits crimes via hacking stuff. The French hackers work for him, so when they think Nick is Nevada they help him take down Chord. However, they later analize footage that could show that Chord is actually Nevada. As soon as they see this, they switch sides and try to help Chord because they apparently don’t care about Jill’s life. Shortly after, more footage is actually revealed to show that Chord killed the actual Nevada that first contacted the French hackers. They kinda apologize after that, but the important thing to know before I tell you the ending is that we actually never find out who Nevada actually is.
Okay, Let’s bring this home. I know you’re not ready for this part because I wasn’t ready and this ending is what inspired those photos I posted to instagram right after I watched it. We find out that Chord is actually the super fan, he kidnaps Jill, takes her to an abandoned warehouse full of gasoline, and then fakes her death. She then tries to get away by persuading him to film her in better lighting so people will believe what’s happening even though he already filmed it and it was a live stream. She asks him to get a gun out so he can shoot her if she decides to run. She then hits him, DOESN’T TAKE THE GUN and runs away. Rather than actually use the gun he’s holding, Chord simply runs a few steps and grabs her again only to tie her up once more. Then Nick crashes his car into a cement thing. At some point, Nick is also shot and it seems like he’s dead. UNTIL we learn that somehow Nevada is still alive. According to the Wikipedia page, the whole thing was designed to flush out Chord, but we never find out why he needs to be flushed out. Not only is Nevada still alive, but he’s also been impersonating Nick the ENTIRE MOVIE. We were never dealing with Nick, the innocent creator of the Jill Goddard fansite, we were being bamboozled by Nevada the entire time. He reveals his ruse to Chord who then is all like “WTF” and there’s this incredibly strange scene where “Nevada” places the sleeping Nick from the back of his car into the driver’s seat. That’s possibly the scariest part of the whole movie, how weirdly his body moves at that part.
In the end, Nevada and Jill escape to an underground bunker we only get to see via those stupid ping pong cameras and Chord dies in the fire that burned down the building he had set up for Jill.
Suffice it to say, all Chord had to do was use his incredibly impressive hacking skills to steal Nick’s website. Then maybe this could have become a courtroom drama instead of whatever this was.
Last Week’s Review: Terrifier
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