|MOVIE DETAILS |
• Name: #Blue_Whale
• Year: 2021
• Country: Russia
• Director: Anna Zaytseva
• Main cast: Anna Potebnya, Timofey Eletskiy, Diana Shulmina, Ekaterina Stulova, Polina Vataga, Olga Pipchenko
• Runtime: 93 minutes
• Production company: Bazelevs
Timur Bekmambetov could probably be one of the most important Russian filmmakers in the terrains of horror and science-fiction of the moment, being the creator of classic movies Night Watch (2004) and Day Watch (2006) back in his country, and having made the jump to blockbuster Hollywood with not so successful results. But, still, in the last years, he is more notorious for his support and the production of independent horror films including Unfriended (2014) and its sequel Unfriended: Dark Web (2018), Unfollowed (2018), and Searching (2018) and its upcoming sequel still in production. In all those movies, a group of teenagers either go missing or are the victims of some macabre deadly games that is eliminating them one by one.
#Blue_Whale (2021) seems to be the Russian response to those American films, circling around a deadly game killing off teenagers, only it is clearly superior and more horrifying than the former. As the audience, we only see the action through the screens of the laptop or cellphone of the protagonists. Constant chats, social media interaction, and live videos build a story that is played at a fast rate since the very first sequence.
Reportedly, the evens in #Blue_Whale (2021) are based on actual cybercrimes that ripped across Eastern Europe and may have been responsible for over 130 deaths (along with the Japanese Momo hoax it inspired). The young teenager Dana can’t trust any of her friends and family because anyone could be the mysterious masked killer who murdered her sister and several other contestants in that deadly online game.
The movie is the debut feature film of young filmmaker Anna Zaytseva, several times awards-winner with her short films. Also co-writer of the screenplay, she manages to build an astonishing horror-thriller exercise, one hour and a half of non-stop pure tension. The star of the film Anna Potebnya, with a remarkable performance, takes us on this ride of internet exploitation and hazardous challenges without taking a break.
Let’s not be a demagogue, the internet, the technologic gadgets, and the social networks are not a real problem per se as they are merely tools. The real problem is how we use those tools, and that applies to grown-ups but also, especially, the younger generations. So the dangers are there, as there are many other dangers in this world. That said, in the terms of social media and internet horror thrillers, a subgenre that is very young and might be obsolete soon because times run too fast, I think I am not mistaken if I state that #Blue_Whale (2021) is the best film I have seen. It takes the best of investigation thrillers and teenage conflicts films, all drenched with the internet universe, and it takes you to an adrenalinic and scary trip.
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