3 Of A Kind? - Internet Predators

Welcome to another 3 of A Kind, If you happen to be interested you can see the first instalment here. This time I decided to look at a subject that freaks me out, the idea that not everyone on-line is who we think they are. A weird subject matter but one that has been explored by many a film maker.

Here are my picks...
Strangeland (1998)
written by Dee Snider. directed by John Pieplow 


Cast Includes: Linda Cardellini (Scooby-Doo), Kevin Gage (Blow) and Dee Snider (80's Rock Band Twisted Sister's Front Man).

Plot Outline: Girl meets boy on the internet (Capt. Howdy)  and after being invited to a party, goes to meet him. There isn't a party of course and she is abducted along with several others. Her father, a cop tracks down her abductor and saves her. Capt Howdy is rehabilitated in a mental hospital, released and then set upon by vigilantes. The rest of the film is about his revenge.

Best Bits? - Snider looks so bloody creepy! His Capt. Howdy's persona is bad enough but his rehabilitated character looks so weird it's kinda scary.

Worse Bits? - The whole film lacks tension. There's no real build up. Things just seem to happen.

How Does It Come Across? - Self Indulgent. Written and produced by Snider it relies on shock tactics and is high on torture gore. There is an underlying moral code trying to get through but it sort of gets lost.

My Verdict: - When I really think about it, I like the whole Jekyll and Hyde thing that Snider has going on and I also like the fact that the film tries to question the ambiguity of what is considering good and evil. Unfortunately, Howdy's droning poetics and the repeated skin piercing  torture scenes turned me off and as I said earlier, there was no tension to draw me be back in.

Megan Is Missing (2011)
written and directed by Michael Goi

Cast Includes: More or less unknown youngsters Amber Perkins and Rachel Quinn.

Plot Outline: Megan and Amy are best friends but polar opposites in personality. Megan starts chatting to a boy named 'Josh' online and before long arranges to meet him. She disappears and Amy trys to find out what has happened to her, that is until she goes missing too.

Best Bits? - The differences between the two main characters made for a interesting relationship but also demanded opposite reactions to their ultimate fate from me. The news report segments of the film were satirical and a wickedly good interpretation of today's response to propaganda.

Worse Bits? - Look out for some 'hands over eyes' inducing stills that flash up before you get chance to react and The last 22 minutes unnerved me that much I had to switch it off and return to it when it was light (I know, wuss)!

How Does It Come Across? - Disturbing. I really bought into the whole 'found footage' genre here which is something I rarely do. Amy's story in particular was heart wrenching and when searching the net and finding that inspiration for the film came from at least 7 real life events, the whole thing took on a whole new level of real.

My Verdict: - I can't say I loved this film because that implies I got some sort of enjoyment out of watching it. I didn't at all. I had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach from start to finish but it was all really well done. The memory of the film has stayed with and got me both thinking and talking about it so let's just say it made an impression on me. That said, I don't think I would be able to watch it again.

Trust (2010)

Cast Includes: - Liana Liberato, Clive Owen (Children Of Men, King Arthur) and Chris Henry Coffey (The International).

Plot Outline: - Annie meets her first ever boyfriend on-line but he is not all that he claims to be. Her parents struggle with the situation, specifically their daughter's action but try to support her as she slowly begins to realise what has happened to her.

Best Bits? - The detail invested in each of the characters, Schwimmer has done a marvellous job of engaging the watcher with the lives of this otherwise normal suburban family. The acting is brilliant too. There is certainly a journey to go on - it's not an easy one though.

Worse Bits?- The sex scene. The look on that girl's face will stay with me forever.

How Does It Come Across?- Frustrating! I wanted to scream at Annie... A LOT and Owen and Catherine Keener as her parents, were a little over handed. However, this all added to the end product (and feeling) being stupidly convincing.

My Verdict: - Considering all I knew of Schwimmer was his goof ball character on Friends, I wasn't expecting much. He blew me away with this film purely because it was really hard hitting without relying on any 'shocking' scenes. I followed the story and felt every form of emotion as the time ticked along. 

Are there any more films like these out there? Please let me know.
Also, if there is a particular topic, genre or even actor you would like to see in a future '3 of a kind' feature, please get in touch. As always, I love hearing from you.

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