RJ Bayley Reviews: ME2 – An Instagram Horror Film
There’s something inherently creepy about old technology. Can you imagine if the demonic vinyl in The Lords of Salem had been replaced with an emailed MP3? Or if the VHS tapes in V/H/S or Resident Evil: Beginning Hour had been Blu-rays and video files?
That doesn’t rule out modern technology as unscary however. Antisocial and Unfriended (both excellent horrors) demonstrate that modern technology can be scary because it’s so familiar to us; so ever present and ever used that we only realise how dependant we are on it when the notion of it turning on us is presented.
ME2 adds to the latter tribe, cleverly touching on the peer validation that social media too easily allows people to hang their entire egos on. Likes, follows, retweets, reactions, views, favourites, it’s all essentially signals of validation and when there’s little interaction with your carefully created status, tweet or in this case Instagram picture, then there’s the accompanying sense of rejection. The ‘watched kettle’ feeling that social media addicts get when waiting for validation (don’t put me down as haughty, I’m one of them) is nicely conveyed here.
The film goes deeper than that however and looks at the way so many people essentially use social media to share their life’s highlights reel, only projecting an image of social, career and intellectual success. In real life this can nauseating and jealousy inspiring, even though we know full well that we’re being sold a highly, sometimes grossly edited version of a person (thank you for the unfollow button, Facebook). Here in ME2 Julia Kelly is the ultimate example of this, becoming jealous of the very fake version of herself that she’s created. It’s a well crafted piece of social (media) commentary that manages to pack all this into a lean 2:39 minutes and throws in an enjoyably camp and novel special effect too. Liked.
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