Directors: Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost
Producers: Andrew Jarecki, Marc Smerling, Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Director of photography: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman, Yaniv Schulman
Editor: Zac Pontier
Sales Agent: Micah Green, CAA
Running Time 86 minutes
Review By Ross Hughes Offical HCF Critic
Film-makers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sense a story unfolding as they begin to film the life of Ariel’s brother, Nev. They have no idea that their project will lead to the most exhilarating and unsettling months of their lives as they unravel an intriguing facebook mystery.
When I was half way through Catfish I realized that like Nev, I too do not know anyone who I have become friends with!
Bat, Matt, David, Bill, Doc and Darren are all people who I talk to in running HorrorCultFilms but when I mean talk, I do not mean face to face or even on webcam. Our chats consist of emails and posts which we reply back and fore until we all agree on something! I have never saw them, taken a glance of their facial looks, these people who I call friends are virtually total strangers to me. I mean I could walk down the street today and walk past Matt and not give him a second look, even though I speak to him every day!
So I ask the question?
How do I know who these people are? Are they who they say they are? Is Matt a 12 year old girl who is playing me for a fool? Is our queen bee Bat actually a man and not a woman! These questions make me feel uneasy especially when I sometimes tell them personal stuff that goes on in my life!
I am not the only one who does this! Just take a look at sites like Facebook and MySpace, sites that encourage strangers to become friends, where a click of a button makes you tell these people everything that is happening in your life!
Catfish plays on this fear and brings a compelling story to the screen that is amazing because all of it is true. This is not one of those handheld horror films that claim to be found footage, everything you see on screen happened, it’s all true from the beginning to the sad end. It’s a unique story and something that will stay with you for a long time after the credits roll!
Nev Schulman is a photographer who one day gets sent a painting from an 8-year-old painter called Abby. Their friendship develops over on the site Facebook. in which Nev grows closer to Abby, who regularly sends him paintings of his photographs. He slowly becomes a friend of the family in which he leaves messages on their site. The mother seems friendly, the father is cool, but its Abby’s attractive older half-sister Megan in which he starts to flirt with!
They are soon talking on the phone, wishing they could be with each other and love blossoms and all this takes place while Ariel his brother films the whole thing! Nev decides one day it would be nice to meet the family andMegan in person, but every time he mentions a meeting date, the family close ranks. Annoyance turns to suspicions and the boys soon discover inconsistencies in Megan’s behavior and holes in the stories that the family have told! Packed with the camera, they set out on a trip to the tiny town of Ishpheming, Michigan to seek the truth but what they uncover is something no one expected!
Watch the trailer and you get a film that is tipped to be a full blown horror! Those expecting that will be left very disappointed! There is no redneck family waiting at the other end holding an axe, there is no ghost and a modern play on the old “I picked up a hitchhiker but when I turned around they were dead!” the 12 rating probably tells you all you need about the lack of any mayhem at the end of this film. But what Catfish succeeds in is being a total original tale of the dangers we all face when we go online!
The mystery to the whole story is so compelling that you be glued from the start because you know that this family is just too perfect to be true! You know that for being a true life film that it cannot end in a Hostel gore-porn so you really do not know what to expect when we come to the reveal!
Without any spoilers the film takes you on a rollercoaster where after the anger comes the sadness and Catfish is very poignant for the modern era! This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and true life documentaries’ are not for everyone, but for me Catfish brings you more fear of online chat than any other film has managed to (Hard Candy) and for me is one of the greatest master-pieces this genre has offered in many of years!
From now on I be checking for proof before I embark on any new friendship over the Internet!