Our obsession with mobile phone technology takes a horrific twist in Franck Khalfoun’s dark thriller I-Lived. Lyndon Wells explains why a good idea doesn’t always make a good movie…
This film aims to capitalise on our technology obsessed society where your mobile phone is constantly being checked and used like an appendage to your body. Writer-director Frank Khalfoun aims to explore the human reaction if an app started to become overly attached to its user.
Jeremiah Watkins plays the lead role Josh who is a bright twentysomething with a startup business reviewing apps on a Youtube channel. Things aren’t going well for the business and the situation is worsened by a judgemental father and a now ex-girlfirend. However once he starts to explore the experimental app I-Lived his life miraculously changes for the better through a series of random tasks after inserting his life goals.
Predictably not is all as it seems. The fine print that Josh never read properly spills the film over into the horror genre. The execution is as campy as the set up suggests with some unintentionally laugh out loud moments with the on-the-nose script writing. There is even some unnecessarily inserted dream sequences. The editing appears amateurish, lacking any style, which I suppose mirrors the film’s lack of substance.
It doesn’t outstay its welcome running just over 90 minutes, any longer and perhaps I would have berated the film even more. It doesn’t really have anything profound to say, it swoops between genres in a goofy fashion, however, it does end on a strong point but often flirts with being boring. There is nothing to particularly dislike or offend but nothing really to admire or enjoy either.
The over-the-top leading performance is in sync with the tone and style of the film; this is not a cinematic film. This is straight-to-DVD fare to be stumbled upon on Channel 5 after a night at the pub. You would enjoy the film just as much if you had a little nap in the middle.
It does have a creepy vibe throughout as you join Josh on his mental rollercoaster, but it will not satisfy any fans of horror. There are no real scares (apart from the editing) and its attempt to have a profound message fails despite starting with the foundation of a smart concept.
This is low budget fare so I do not want to appear overly critical but it is very televisual, more like an extended episode of the Twilight Zone executed fairly well within its massive constraints.
So in the right mood with low expectations there is something to enjoy here but the starting conceit is much more interesting than the film as a whole. our current obsession with mobile technology lends itself perfectly to thrillers and possible horror but we can do better than I-Lived.
Written by Lyndon Wells
I-Lived is OUT NOW on DVD, Digital Download and On Demand. Top 10 Films reviewed the DVD courtesy of Second Sight. The I-Lived app is also available from iTunes and Google. It’s a new way to watch a film and syncs with the film. Play on any device and the app will listen to the soundtrack and send timed message, videos and clues throughout the film. The I-Lived app creates a full immersive experience using speakers, flashlight and vibrations.