Fantasia Film Festival is really something. The world premiere of Cybernatural included it being hosted by the director Leo Gabriadze and co-producer Adam Sidman. Much to my surprise, he also managed to match the whole cyber theme and get the first (at least they said so) live Skype Q&A session going with the writer Nelson Greaves, producer Timur Bekmambetov and three members of the cast. As late as this was, it was quite the experience to get everyone there and to hear their thoughts.
I had to leave before the Q&A finished but I think I managed to stick around for a good part of it. My suggestion even if you skip this review because you want to see this, DON’T WATCH THE TRAILER! I’m in no way saying it was bad but if you want to be more impacted, just trust me on this one. But then I believe that I enjoy horror movies more because I always skip the trailer.
Director: Leo Gabriadze
Cast: Shelley Hennig, Renee Olstead, Jacob Wysocki, William Peltz, Courtney Halverson, Moses Jacob Storm
Six teens; Blaire (Shelley Hennig), Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm), Jess (Renee Olstead), Adam (William Peltz), Val (Courtney Halverson) and Ken (Jacob Wysocki) are in a Skype online meeting on the one year anniversary of a fellow classmate, Laura Burns death after an embarrassing video was posted up by an unknown person. When Blaire mysteriously receives a message from the dead Laura Barns, and a mysterious person joins their chat with the profile of Laura, they think that someone is playing a prank on them. Except, things get out of hand when they realize that there is something a lot bigger and more dangerous than even they could control. Lies and secrets are revealed that pitch them against each other and they realize that whoever is on the other side of is really is making this into a deadly game.
Cybernatural is a completely new take to what a new age found footage horror flick should be like. Its about webcams, online chats, chat rooms, messaging, Facebook, Youtube and all those goodies we hang around on. Thats why this movie is powerful. Its about teens who is totally oblivious to the dangers of cyberbullying and the impact. Its also about how danger can lurk behind the other side of the computer. Our electronic devices can all be hacked. With the right skills, we can turn something completely innocent into something dangerous. Its the new unknown. Thats what always is scary, right? Diving into the unknown possiblities. Who is on the other side? What is on the other side? Where could they be? Outside your door? Stalking you from their car? Inside your bathroom? In a world where everything is so connected but yet not really that connected, its hard to grasp the dangers and how everyone is very ignorant to all that because its become an everyday aspect of our lives.
A few days ago, I reviewed a tech thriller from Fantasia Festival called Open Windows (review HERE). Gearing from the same sort of technology focused found footage, this one becomes more personal as we are now solely on one of the six teens laptop screens. We are connected with Blaire’s screen. At the start of the movie, we know nothing about them. When we first get the messages from the girl that we know died, its scary and creepy. There is no other way to describe it. At the same time, what makes this all feel real is that we look at a similar screen when we are at home, Blair makes mistakes when she types; she multitasks as she chats with her friends. She demonstrates to us the accessibility of information but how it can also slowly grow out of control as the situation intensifies. As I write this up, my heart is starting to pound just thinking of everything that happened in this movie. With that said, Cybernatural is a gripping, intense and unique cinema experience.
I personally think the writer did a fantastic job with putting this script together. There is a tight knit of story flowing for each of the character’s and it does get bit emotional as the secrets start flowing out. The question essentially is who posted up that video? And then I can’t go through this without saying that casting essentially not so popular young actors and actresses are the key to making this successful. They had amazing chemistry with each other and you could feel the bond and tension between each of the characters even though it was just through the way they talked.
Honestly, I don’t know what else to say except that Cybernatural is a true horrific experience. Maybe not as horrific as creepy and dangerous. I rarely can be sure about saying a horror movie is good because I’m not ever sure about it but for once, Cybernatural is a piece that is worth your time. Whether you want to give it chance for the new age found footage experience or you trust me and want to embark on this online session with these teens and learn about their secrets. Its really one that you have to discover all on your own. If I said any more, then I’d be spoiling your fun. We wouldn’t want that, right? 😉
Are you a fan of found footage? What do you think about this new age found footage concept?
By the way, if you don’t believe how good it is, it was so good that they added a screening so fellow Montrealers who wants to see this. July 29th is the added screening. Go buy those tickets because I’m pretty sure they’ll sell out! 🙂