Friday, 9 June 2023

Deinfluencer (2022)

A British chiller that also wants to comment on our relationships with social media, the scariest thing about Deinfluencer is the fact that there’s at least one sequel being prepped (although we can always hope that it doesn’t get to the full production stage).

A young woman named Kelly (Marie Luciani-Grimaldi) wakes up in an unknown location, distressed to find that she has been kidnapped by someone who intends to set her a number of challenges. All of those challenges will revolve around her getting certain numbers of likes on her Instagram posts, and all will also aim to teach Kelly a valuable lesson.

Directed by Jamie Bailey, who also worked on the script with actor Simon Phillips (onscreen as the masked kidnapper), Deinfluencer is childishly simple and clumsy in the way it handles the central idea. It’s obvious that someone figured out the end point and decided to retrofit the whole thing from there, and it’s equally obvious that everyone involved would have to compensate for the budgetary limitations with talent and creativity. They aren’t able to do so.

I tend to like seeing Phillips onscreen, a jobbing actor who has been plying his trade for quite a while now, but he’s sadly not often a sign of quality. His acting range feels quite limited, and his reputation feels seriously tarnished by his immersion in the UK film productions that aim for a business model of “keep costs low and turn a profit selling titles before people realise how bad they are”. He has starred in an average of 4 movies a year for the past few years, and I am willing to bet that very few of those, if any, manage to rise up to the level of average. Luciani-Grimaldi isn’t very good here either, although she has the excuse of just being at the start of her onscreen acting career. There are one or two others bulking up the tiny cast, but nobody acquits themselves well enough to warrant a namecheck here.

Every time I see another film like this, one that feels as if it has come off some production line for British movies made without care or passion, I get mad. I get mad at the fact I know I will still watch the damn thing to the end, I get mad at those involved not making enough effort, and I get mad for the people who have been unable to get their own films made while dross like this ends up out there, littering the cinematic landscape like full dog “poo bags” hanging from tree branches.

Maybe everyone went into this with the best intentions. Maybe this is genuinely the best end result they could have achieved. I strongly doubt it though, and I suspect both Bailey and Phillips know they could have done better. But that might have taken a bit more effort.


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