Directed by Jennifer Harrington.
Starring Daisye Tutor, Nicola Posener, Octavius J. Johnson, Stephanie Simbari and Emily Goss.
A magnificence influencer unravels as a routine dog-sitting night turns into a high-stakes recreation during which her household and buddies are threatened by an unseen predator.
Social media influencers are having a second – and never a very good one. A succession of winter lockdowns have pressured bored Brits indoors with out the silver lining of assembly buddies or hunkering down in a pub for the night. In the meantime, Love Island contestants, health fanatics and make-up maestros with tens of hundreds of Instagram followers have jetted off to Dubai and the Caribbean, basking within the sunshine and relaxed restrictions round social contact. With that in thoughts, it’s theoretically fairly a very good time for Jennifer Harrington’s Shook – a sophomore horror characteristic with its eye turned to the facade of Insta-perfection.
Definitely, the opening set piece is a stunner. After a montage credit sequence introducing on-line magnificence kingpins Genelle (Genelle Seldon) and Mia (Daisye Tutor), we see them pouting and posing on a glamorous crimson carpet, which is subsequently revealed to be a tiny set on the fringe of a grotty-looking automobile park. Retreating to the lavatory after her designer doggie makes a large number of her robe, Genelle notices one thing incorrect and is quickly impaled bloodily via the throat by her vibrant blue stiletto heel – a vibrant tableau of major colors of which Dario Argento could be proud.
It’s a dramatic and violent opening, and one which shocks Mia right into a drippingly insincere put up during which she says she goes to dogsit for her sister Nicole (Emily Goss), who’s frightened in regards to the serial pet killer marauding via California. In doing so, she has ducked out of a reside stream hosted by her boyfriend Santi (Octavius J. Johnson) and influencer buddies (Nicola Posener and Stephanie Simbari). Quickly, she loses sight of the canine and begins to obtain calls from unusual neighbour Kellan (Grant Rosenmeyer), which shortly flip sinister and violent.
What follows is basically a redux of quite a few social media horror tales from latest years, with the sensible Black Mirror episode ‘Shut Up and Dance’ the obvious comparability. In actual fact, Harrington’s story usually appears like a rejected pitch for Charlie Brooker’s telly anthology, albeit a film which lacks the arrow-focus and particular concentrating on of that present’s finest episodes. Shook units itself up as a critique of vapid influencer tradition and the inherent fakery of social media, however usually veers wildly in different instructions because it will get strangled by its personal magician’s sleeve of plot twists.
It’s lucky then that the film includes a dynamite lead efficiency, with Daisye Tutor completely embodying each component of Mia. She’s comfy smiling into the front-facing digital camera of a telephone as a swaggering influencer, but in addition excels in scenes which require rage, terror and bodily endurance. It’s a standard scream queen efficiency of one of the best form – significantly as she’s virtually at all times alone on display, appearing towards a voice on the opposite facet of the telephone. That the film works in any respect – which it does – is testomony to her dedicated efficiency.
The setup is tense, however issues come up when the story begins to unravel and Harrington’s script unveils its myriad twists and turns. Each subversion throws up extra questions than it solutions and calls into query the motivations of nearly each character, to not point out the frayed edges of a handful of very unfastened threads. The primary few whole reversals are fulfilling, however Harrington forces the viewers to reset expectations time and again to the purpose that each motion loses any which means it’d as soon as have had.
Reasonably than clicking into satisfying place by the point the credit roll, Shook feels raggedy and in want of tightening a number of notches. Regardless of a killer central efficiency, it short-changes its supporting solid with delivering shoddy dialogue into smartphone cameras. The movie’s smatterings of partaking and intriguing social commentary are solely ever transient flashes, with generic style stodge virtually at all times getting in the way in which.
Flickering Fable Score – Movie: ★ ★ / Film: ★ ★ ★
Tom Beasley is a contract movie journalist and wrestling fan. Observe him on Twitter via @TomJBeasley for film opinions, wrestling stuff and puns.
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