This week on #HauntLife, I am going to give you all my full review of the 2018 indie thriller flick, Clickbait. This film was directed by Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola. It was written by Michael Epstein and Jeremy Long.
Before we jump into my review, let’s take a look at the trailer:
Usually, this type of film is not exactly in my wheelhouse. As a haunter, I am looking for something that is a little more “in your face” when it comes to horror. When you work in the haunted house industry, you learn that you have to go for the quick-and-dirty type of scares than the long, drawn-out ones. Thrillers tend to follow the latter of those two, opting for more of a build up to release than instant climax. So, a lot of my film watching around this time of year revolves around slasher films. More gore, less snore, right?
But when I checked out the trailer above, I was pretty intrigued. I had to at least give Clickbait a try.
Clickbait revolves around Bailey (Amanda Colby Stewart) and her roommate, Emma (Brandi Aguilar). Bailey hosts her own popular channel on the social media page called STR33KER (very much like Youtube channels). After celebrating some time as the top “str33ker,” Bailey’s channel slides slightly, which in turns affects her social standing within her circle of friends.
After a party night, Bailey and Emma get followed home by an unseen stalker. It is not until the next day that the two realize they had been followed home, as the perpetrator was armed with a video camera and recorded them from behind a tree in their yard and uploaded the video to Bailey’s account. While Bailey is not worried and finds it helpful in restoring her place as the top str33ker, Emma is completely frightened. She gets the cops involved, and Detective Frank Dobson (Seth Chatfield) is assigned her case.
Immediately, Detective Dobson proves that he is unqualified as a detective, but the girls agree to let him guard their apartment. However, that evening, the stalker comes back. Still armed with a camera and wearing a President Trump mask that has been painted solid white (very reminiscent of Michael Myers), the perp enters the house and videos both girls as they try to sleep over the next few nights. However, one evening, the stalker enters Bailey’s room, knocks her out with chloroform and kidnaps her.
The next morning, Emma sees the video online of Bailey tied to a chair and the masked kidnapper threatening to kill her unless she agrees to make online videos with him. Completely mortified by this development and unable to reach Detective Dobson, Emma takes matters into her own hands and sets out to track down Bailey and her kidnapper to stop this nightmare before it is too late.
I gotta say I was pleasantly surprised by this film. I give it a four out of five stars. There were a couple of things that detracted from the show, but all in all I think it was a well put together story that pays homage to other thrillers (a stalker wearing a celebrity mask painted white??? Where have we seen that before??). It is well worth seeing if you are looking for a “not too intense” stalker film.
The story is definitely the shining point of Clickbait. A good thriller will have a plot that borders on the line between reality and beyond reality. The antagonist in the film has to have the means to carry out his or her crime and has to have a motive for doing what he or she does. In Clickbait, Bailey is a very attractive girl, but carries herself with a snobby “I’m better than you” attitude. She also posts her life online, allowing any creep to see into her inner life, and could start to covet her. It is very easy to see why a psychopath would want to stalk and kidnap her. Too many films forget this key aspect of making the story believable, but Clickbait hits the nail on the head perfectly.
From an acting standpoint, it is about what you should come to expect from indie films. The actors and actresses are not to the professional level yet, so there were quite a few moments that just seem to fall off in dialogue. In some scenes, it felt like they may have even been fed their lines just off camera. It took a little away from the overall film, but again, it is what to be expected from these type of films.
All in all, Clickbait is a great film with only slight imperfections. The story was great and easy to follow. While the acting quality had room for improvement in some scenes, the cast would rebound and come back strong in other scenes, redeeming themselves in the process. If you are looking for a new thriller to see, then Clickbait should be on your list. Not to Toot (Strudel… you’ll get the reference when you see the film) their horn for them, but I have this as a “must see” film.