We start September with a new horror currently featured on Netflix. It tackles one of the most prolific afflictions (?) of our generation (as I type that I realise that we’re not actually talking about MY generation but the one beneath it, maybe even further down that that. God, I’m ancient).
Selfie from Hell (2018)
After her cousin comes to visit and falls ill, a woman starts to receive strange cell phone messages.
We all know that selfies are bad and anyone who partakes might as well be murdered horribly as punishment, right? I think we can all agree. Obviously that isn’t the message here and I jest but one of my pet peeves is people who hate on social media even though its all part of evolution and the world we live in – and is generally a positive thing, sue me.
Anyway, this film doesn’t really do anything by way of a message which might be where it falls down. Perhaps if it had been making a comment on social media on the whole it would have been stronger but the result is all just very… so?
Hannah (Alyson Walker) is a good girl because she’s clean and pretty and conscientious. When her cousin Julia (Meelah Adams) comes to stay it is immediately apparent that something is majorly off about her. She looks dog rough for a start and this isn’t being mean, it’s the truth – the girl is clearly not well.
On arriving at Hannah’s, she soon falls into a stupor which leads her cousin on a dubious mission to find out just what the fuck is actually going on.
I might be a little hazy on the order of the day here as I was distracted (by social media, go figure) but Julia is from Germany and has traveled to the US to visit her cousin, Hannah. Back in her home country, Julia is a vlogger (popular enough to have a couple of conspiracy theories about her posted on the web but she’s no Zoella).
Before we even meet Hannah I believe there’s a spooky selfie taking sequence that reveals a nasty surprise for Julia – whenever she snaps a cheeky duck face, it is revealed that she is not alone. Fuck that, honestly – that would probably be the only way to deter me from taking pictures of my own beautiful face.
Back in the US with Julia in a catatonic fug, Hannah is desperately worried and determined to figure shit out. She first of all starts digging around Julia’s laptop which clues her in on some of her cousin’s recent vlogs. Or one, namely Selfies from Hell, Part 1. But where is part 2…? Ooooh.
Watching Part 1 doesn’t answer any of the questions Hannah has so she does what any sensible heroine would, she googles how to access The Dark Web. Is it that easy honestly? She also recruits her cyber/Skype love interest Trevor (Tony Giroux) who is a dab hand with a hard drive (pnar) who gives her just one piece of advice: don’t give out any personal information on The Dark Web. So she doesn’t and everything works out just fine. SYKE.
Obviously she gives out her personal email address within 17 seconds of speaking to someone – Trevor’s big plan is to go onto TDW and ask anyone if they know anything about these mysterious 13 selfies Julia’s been banging on about (apparently it’s a video which is kind of confusing and not what a selfie is but NVM. If you watch all 13 selfies then you’re basically in BIG TROUBLE).
Hannah gives her deets to user F34R3473R (fuck typing that more than once), gets sent first a nasty message, then receives several pervy phone calls. Who knew? During her Nancy Drew investigations, Hannah also uncovers multiple articles surrounding Julia’s mysterious death – but hang on a minute, she’s asleep upstairs in the spare room, non?
From here we loose grip on the narrative as Hannah finds herself in a sticky situation with the pervert stalking her, Trevor watches the 13 selfies (duh) and the evil entity reveals him/itself. I can’t really remember what happens at the end except to say there’s no happy ending for anybody concerned.
One interesting thing about Selfie from Hell is that main actress Meelah Adams produced a short by the same name (which then became this film) as part of her bachelor thesis on the effects of viral videos. I want to like it more for that reason alone. Unfortunately, it’s not very good beyond the deeply relateable premise.
It isn’t horrible, apart from not making the most sense, it’s just instantly forgettable. And let’s face it, there can’t be a more interesting playground to explore that The Dark Web so how is it so boring? I mean, apparently you can buy a raccoon on there – what’s not to love?
Performances aren’t great, the production values are not great and it isn’t that scary – however, the selfie scenes are creepy, I’ll give them that.