Monday, October 10, 2011

Catfish (2010)

         Ariel Schulman
          Henry Joost
Directed by:  Ariel Schulman & Henry Joost
Summary: Filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost document a story involving Ariel's brother, Nev, a 24-year-old New York-based photographer, and Abby, from rural Michigan who contacts Nev via Facebook, asking for permission to make a painting from one of his photographs. (via imdb). 
This supposedly real life documentary (its veracity is doubted in many circles thanks to some idiosyncrasies and details portrayed in the film not lining up right) was billed as a horror thriller thanks to its intense and creepy trailer, but that's not what you get. And aside from the annoyance I felt at being duped by the trailer, it is an engrossing, and oddly endearing film. This will get a little spoilery from here on in, so if you still want to be surprised by the twists in the movie, stop reading now.

Everybody good? Ok, so Nev strikes up an online friendship with a little girl named Abby. Abby, 8, is a gifted painter, and Nev becomes drawn to her and her family, especially her older sister Megan, with whom he develops a personal relationship bordering on love. The only problem is, that although these people exist, Nev has never actually spoken with or corresponded with any of them. Instead, the matriarch of the clan is leading multiple lives online. Things come to a head as Nev starts to discover that things aren't what they seem, and the filmmakers travel to meet Abby and family in person.
Now, if this were the film advertised, this is where all hell would break loose, and we'd find out we're watching a found footage movie. There are the makings of a very dark and scary movie here, but in this case, things work out okay. 
The mom, Angela, confesses to her multiple lies as we watch, and that's where the tale gets really interesting as we see the lengths she went through to try and keep it all from unraveling. It's a sad story, and you really do feel for this poor woman who is obviously just trying to escape into fantasy to avoid her hard life.
This works as a warning that you can never really know who you are corresponding with online. I actually recommend this be watched with teenage kids to help underline the dangers of internet anonymity. 
It's a good film, if marketed poorly. I give it a 7.5 out of 10

No comments:

Post a Comment