Monday, January 1, 2018

Siri: Kill Me

Maybe it was the failure of the American remake of Pulse, but it seems surprising that here we are in 2017 with so few smartphone-centered horror movies. 

It's almost like someone just read my data and heard me...

Quick Plot: Nikki is a seemingly healthy high school senior who suddenly drops dead, devastating her best friend Alice, boyfriend Cody, and a few other incredibly attractive pals, all of whom eventually find a new app invitation on her phone.

Meet Mr. Bedevil, a sort of dandy version of Siri crossed with Freddy Krueger. While each teenager initially finds the app helpful in a cheat-on-your-homework kind of way, it doesn't take long for them to realize the software's goal is to exploit their deepest fears until they are medically scared to death.

Clowns, racists, teddy bears, and old people: the typical phobias of today's millennial. The kids recognize their doom, attempting to uninstall the program to no avail. The police are similarly no help, and oddly enough, none of these seventeen year olds seems to have parents or teachers that think to raise any kind of alarm when they continue to die off. 

Bedeviled is the kind of low-ish budget horror movie that has charm about equal to the amount of ridiculous logic suspension its audience must take. The young actors aren't all fully comfortable with screen dialogue, but they're enthusiastic enough to garner audience sympathy, especially since each character has enough individuality to make an impression. The fact that they don't seem to be complete idiots is what hurts the film a tad. Haven't they watched enough movies to know that splitting up is easily the worst idea anyone can have when being stalked by a slender man-esque stalker?

Look, movie characters aren't always the brightest bulbs onscreen. I get that. But if I was the only one seeing dreamlike images of my deepest fears while my friends went through the same thing, wouldn't I, I don't know, say to my pals, "hey, let's stick together because maybe this slender app-man can't be in two places at once?" I don't know much about this generation's youth, but apparently, they really don't work well together.

Details aside, Bedeviled is a fun little watch that plays like a neat little modernization of Nightmare On Elm Street. The main villain and his many incarnations have some visual flair, and the pacing moves well to make its 90 minute runtime feel just right. This isn't a franchise starter or new classic, but it's a perfectly solid for a one-time watch. 

High Points
While it's still a pick 'em off horror movie centered around high schoolers, it's admirable that this is a film that actively casts a diverse assortment of (very attractive) actors and finds ways to touch on their racial/ethnic backgrounds in somewhat thoughtful ways

Low Points
I mean, I get that Alice's mother is a single working woman, but considering just how many TEENAGERS ARE BEING KILLED, you'd think ONE adult in their lives might actually acknowledge that something is amiss

Lessons Learned
In 2017, nobody really cares if four kids from the same school die mysterious deaths within days of each other

Duck faces and assholes are pretty much the same thing, particularly if you're a bitter police officer

Seriously, kids, stop recording yourselves having sex, especially when said device includes an app that easily accesses all of your data. Seriously 

Look! It's-
Lead Saxon Sharbino, who I mostly knew from a recent Law & Order: SVU episode but who I apparently originally met via the climax of the criminally underseen, truly horrifying Red White and Blue

I don't know that I'll ever watch Bedeviled again, but I'll certainly welcome more horror from the writing/directing team The Vang Brothers.  You can find it on Netflix.


  1. Haven't seen this movie yet but it sounds interesting, given the Elm Street vibe. And I completely forgot that Saxon Sharbino was in Red White and Blue (it's been a while since I've seen that movie, but I do remember that scene) and you're right about it being a horrifying and criminally underseen film.
    Going back to Saxon Sharbino for a I saw a Lifetime movie that she starred in a few days ago called Stalker's Prey. She stars as a teen who survives a shark attack only to be stalked by the guy who saved her life! I don't know if you've seen it yet, but I thought it might be up your alley given that it's your typical "stalked by a" film that Lifetime is so fond of :) The stalker guy is played by Mason Dye who played Chris in Lifetime's adaptation of Flowers in the Attic from a couple of years ago. And speaking of V.C. Andrews, we're getting a Heaven movie that will be airing sometime this year. The only actors I recognize in the cast are Chris William Martin as Luke Casteel and Julie Benz (!) as Kitty Dennison. Needless to say that I'm looking forward to watching it, and hopefully we'll get some more VCA movies in the future!

    1. Oh my GOSH do I have to track that down! Stalking PLUS sharks?!

      I had NOT heard about Heaven! SUPER stoked! I hope the Dawn series is next!!!!