Out Now: On DVD and Blu-Ray
Directed By: Hideo Nakata
Written By: Enda Walsh
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Hannah Murray, Matthew Beard
Review By Ross Hughes Offical HCF Critic
“MEET THE VERY BLAND SOCIAL NETWORK!”
There are some directors whose name alone makes you want to watch the film! Look at Mr John Carpenter, a man who lets be honest, his recent output has been nothing to get excited about, but yet when you see his name on a film, you still get the tingles and the need to watch it! Maybe its hope that the man can rediscover some form of old, that his new movie will bring back the magic that made you all scared when you first saw the likes of Halloween and The Fog!
Hideo Nakata is another man who I will forever want to seek out! His Ringu film way back in the late nineties made me feel what it was to be scared again and its without question the horror that started the J-Horror boom that dominated the early noughties. The fact that he followed that up with the very underrated Dark Water meant for this film fan, he will always be a director to look out for, even though like Carpenter his recent films have been quite poor!
Chatroom arrived on my lap this week and with a subject doing the buzz around the cinema world, I expected great things from this movie. With The Social Network still fresh in the memory, and with Catfish winning rave acclaim (review to follow this), the subject of the Internet and the perils of its actions, Chatroom seemed a suitable film and vey relevant for this time in film, but while I did not expect a story in the vein of Ringu (and those who do with be massively disappointed), I did not expect film so lacking in bite that it made me virtually fall asleep!
Five teens get together and call themselves the “Chelsea Teens” and talk amongst themselves on the internet which to the viewer is displayed has one room where they all sit around! Ok that bit is clever and original but that is it! We do have serious aspects to the whole web surfing is dangerous debate, one scene shows paedophiles disguised has young girls and of course the suicidal angle where in one stunning scene we see a girl kill herself, but Chatroom fails to entice because basically its just five teens hanging around talking!
There is of course one bad apple in the group, one who senses another has personal problems and starts to play with his head, but there is no sign of danger, no tension building, its just a feeble film that even now I can not really believe I sat and watched it all!
Before I was asked to write for the esteemed HCF, I wrote for another Forum and my reviews of films that were awful were well received with readers simply because its easier to write about a crap film. I mean I can write sentences and paragraphs of scenes that tickled me simply because they were so damn awful. Chatroom has nothing I can remember that even raised a smile! Its not even horror, its a melodrama, a theatrical stage play made into film!
Yes Nakata does show glimpses of quality! The early scenes of long stretch of corridors with its surreal colours brings back memories of the J Horror and to be fair he does try something different. Even the scenes of animation which filter in some places are an oddity but not weird or strange enough to bring a cult following!
I must apologise because usually I put a lot into my reviews, but at this moment I just want to forget this movie! Perhaps the critical mauling Nakata received for his American Ring 2 sequel has knocked the stuffing out of him. This here is not the great man playing it safe, it may be him trying to experiment with something different! But when you watching five teens moaning about how crap their life is when they have not even lived yet, all you wish is that Sadako would crawl out of their laptop screen and put them all out of their misery, at least then we would have had a better film than this waste of time and effort!