- Nate Adams
Review: Revenge thriller '#Like' too conventional for its own good
Courtesy of Dame Work Productions
Filmmaker Sarah Pirozek, best known for the riveting documentary “Free Tibet,” is helming her first feature film “#Like” which explores the dangers of social media, and how quickly online chatter can lead to serious repercussions. “#Like” isn’t afraid to show discomfort and presents an admirable mission statement (mourning in the digital age) but most of the film is constructed with unoriginal plotting and pacing issues that hinder the overall experience.
Though a good chunk of “#Like” takes place in the online stratosphere, the film does have real world elements. Set in Woodstock, New York State, we follow Rosie (Sarah Rich) a high schooler who seems happy, or that’s the facade put on for cheerleading practices. At home, Rosie and her mother (Marin Gazzaniga) are still reeling from the loss of younger sister, Amelia (Samantha Nicole Dunn) after someone she met online stalked and killed her.
It’s been one year and Rosie fires up Amelia’s old social media accounts and discovers the traces of the online troll who facilitated her death. When she presents this evidence to police, they want nothing to do with it and instead, Rosie begins traversing local mainstays in an effort to track the culprit. She finds an unmarried contractor (Marc Menchaca) who lives alone and spends afternoons taking, what appears to be, pictures of young children at the park. We’re not sure if this is the guy, but Rosie lures him while mom is gone on a work trip, chaining the suspect in the bomb shelter beneath her house.
What unfolds is the typical, revenge thriller mayhem - with a few twists - where there’s torture and mind games used to trick the victim into confessing something they may or may not have done. In the era of #MeToo, Pirozek incorporates an underlying meaning to the proceedings, including the pile of insecurities Rosie faces everyday. But it also makes the viewer question if this man is the perpetrator: are we sure he isn’t just a weirdo? Then again, Rosie is only a teenager and the decisions made can seem illogical, but to her make sense despite them looking strange on screen. To her, even if he didn’t kill Amelia, he’s at the very least a pediphile right? Who’s gonna miss him? In any case, Rich struggles to hold down some of the earlier scenes, screaming into a void or Menchaca’s face without much conviction.
Give credit to #Like for swapping genders in the tortured thriller basement genre, but the groundwork (and performances) are too flimsy that by the time audiences reach a game changing revelation, it’ll feel like an afterthought.”#Like” strives at showcasing the abuse, manipulation and objectification women face online everyday and the ending leaves plenty of unanswered questions, I wished the film had dug deeper into those sensitive plot devices rather than invest in a conventional scenario recycled countless times before.
#Like is now available on digital