Monday, June 24, 2024

Can't Argue With The Title

It will likely not surprise you to hear that I found a low budget internet horror movie on Amazon, that it looked terrible, was under 80 minutes, and therefore, I dove in. 

I'm a predictable person.

Quick Plot: Zane settles in for a quiet night in his off-campus apartment, laptop on, tissue box in easy reach and his favorite website fully paid for: Beat a Slut.Net. 


His roommate seems a little better adjusted. Josh says goodnight to his girlfriend and comes home to discover Zane's computer on but no sign of Zane. He catches a glimpse of Zane's last web visit and is instantly transported to a Hostel-ish cell. A silent, scarred man appears, controlling Josh's motions as he's forced to torture his very own roommate. 

Josh wakes up in his own apartment, dismissing the moment as a bad dream but lured back to Zane's computer to watch a woman beaten and strangled for clicks. Back he goes to the bloody room, where the violence towards Zane escalates under the mournful eyes of the same woman who just lost her life on Zane's screen. 

Flashbacks throughout lend a little more insight into Zane and Josh's friendship. Pals since summer camp, they headed to college with big ambitions of not repeating their high school misery. Josh found a way: hosting obnoxious parties with live bands and copious amounts of molly. The more socially awkward Zane couldn't find his footing, preferring the company of snuff film and death metal. Josh knew Zane had questionable taste in porn, and his failure to confront the whole moral quandary of it all has now led to his own eternal punishment. 

Don't Click began as a short film by writer/director G-Hey Kim and it clearly needed a few more script revisions before its full-length (well, 76 minute) extension. The pacing between Zane's torture and his shallow backstory is awkward in a way that doesn't build any real tension. The idea of a closed door incel getting his comeuppance is fine, but there's simply not enough development of Zane to make us feel ANYTHING when he's being brutally tortured by the body of his best friend.

On the other hand, Josh (played by Valter Skarsgård, and yes, there's yet another Skarsgård) comes across a bit more solid, but no less ill-defined. The movie is either harshly judging a young adult for not harshly judging his friend's taste in porn (rude), or doing a very poor job of suggesting Josh knew these women were really being murdered on camera. 

Where does that leave us? With a poorly told story, or worse, an incredibly muddy condemnation of pornography. In 2024. 

Yes, I will think very differently of a person if I discover their website of choice is called But also, porn exists to let people partake in fantasies that they often WOULD NOT in real life. Punishing someone for what they do for themselves without actually involving others is pretty puritanical. 

Sure, in the case of Don't Click, it's clear (because this is a horror movie that involves vengeful router ghosts) that this website is a real hunting ground. And this vengeful router ghost is fully in her right to sew a participant's mouth shut and make his best friend chop off his masturbating hand. I'm all for that in theory! But Don't Click is so muddled in its morality that I feel weird rooting for, well, ANYTHING here. If you can't make me want to watch an incel get tortured, maybe you're doing something wrong with your storytelling. 

High Points
I'm a simple woman, and the supernatural explanation of "a murder victim's blood running down a WiFi modem creates a website ghost" made me unreasonably happy in the dumbest of ways 

Low Points
I obviously had a lot of problems with Don't Click, but if I had to boil it down to one, I'd say it's the extreme fuzziness of its own morality. Not every horror film needs a code, but when you're so zealous about both SHOWING torture and judging those watching the torture, it just feels like a lot of anger with no direction

Lessons Learned
Sorry to disappoint, but most college freshmen are not going to be impressed by your original Man Bites Dog poster

Always have a non-verbal code with your bestie

A thick side bang will not protect you from blood modem ghosts

I don't know what anyone will get out of Don't Click. It's certainly better made than some of the more recent low budget duds I've watched of late, but it's hard to find anything here that adds up to a recommendation. As is often the case, if you choose to ignore my advice on not watching a low budget torture porn-inspired horror movie, you'll find it streaming on Amazon Prime. 

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