Movie Review: @urFRENZ

In my attempt to branch out by blogging about different thing, here’s the first movie review I’ve written in probably five years – a look at the 2010 independent movie, @urFRENZ, which takes a look at social media and the (sometimes scary) effects it can have.

I’ll be the first to admit – my reasoning for electing to watch this movie was purely the fact that James Maslow was in it; as a fan of his, I did a little digging and I just had to watch this. It’s fairly easy to find – available in full-length and for free (!!) on Hulu.

Without giving away any spoilers, let me sum up the movie for you:

It focuses on a high school girl named Catherine who seems to be a bit of a loner; she also self-harms, which is a pretty big theme in the movie. She’s not exactly the most popular girl at school, and shortly into the movie, she spreads a (sex-related) rumor about Madison, a fellow classmate.

Catherine soon makes a friend – online. She meets a boy named Brandon, and they begin exchanging IMs and text messages on a regular basis. That’s where the movie gets interesting – Brandon is played by James Maslow, and we don’t see him a whole lot, but when we do, he’s speaking out the IMs and texts that he is sending to Catherine.

These conversations are portrayed as face-to-face, with Maslow speaking in a dreamy, whimsical voice to remind the audience that he’s not really there – he’s only virtual and often uses ‘chatspeak.’ For instance, one line is something like “That doesn’t sound very LOL to me.”

Naturally, Catherine becomes attached pretty quickly – and if you’ve only read up to this point, it seems pretty obvious that Brandon isn’t really who he says he is, right? It’s no mystery in the movie, because we find out as SOON as his character is introduced who he really is, but I won’t spoil it for you here.

One day, the person who is behind ‘Brandon’ finds out exactly what rumor Catherine spread, and things turn even more sour from this point on. It gets nasty, and ‘Brandon’ tells Catherine to never contact him again – but it’s only a matter of time before he gets another IM from a screenname he can only assume must be Catherine again, trying to contact him despite his stern detachment.

Watching this film, it seemed extremely predictable – I was sitting there going ‘Oh, I know what’s about to happen,’ but then it wasn’t predictable, not at all, and I was completely wrong. Again – I won’t spoil it.

I thought this movie was excellent – sad, of course, because stuff like this really happens, but excellent nonetheless. You really have to watch it to understand, but all I’ll say is that it’s a great film with a scary, chilling and realistic storyline about the dangers of online bullying and the need to always be a little cautious of people you meet on the Internet.

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