Clickbait (2019)

Let’s lead this off with the director’s statement on the film: “Great horror films find ways to create physical manifestations of abstract fears and anxieties. Modern popularity culture imposes a certain pressure on younger people to create complex, performative identities, and to fearlessly face the consequences of the resulting fracturing of their self-image. We wanted to create a “monster” that manifested from those performative pressures, and one that is actually fed and brought to life by every character in the movie inadvertently. We hoped to depict the different types of personas people take on in social-media forums, and the impossible reconciliations they face. We hope you will find these circumstances tragic and sympathize with the victims who have this vapidity thrust upon them, rather than viewing the participants as themselves vapid. We do not wish the film to be a condemnation of millennials, so much as a condemnation of the way that they have been commoditized by Facebook, Google, and other Internet giants.”

Bailey and Emma (Colby Stewart and Brandi Aguilar) are college roommates who work together to fuel Bailey’s obsession with gaining fame via the St33ker app. Up until now, she’s led everyone else on the site, but when another user of the site reveals that she is dying from cancer, she loses her popularity and even her place in the world.

However, the girls find their popularity increases when a killer in a spray painted white Donald Trump mask — hello, Nick Castle — begins stalking them. The cops are, at best, ineffective. And the deeper the girls go into danger, the less Bailey wants to escape it, as she’s returning to the popularity she once had.

I really liked the constant sponsored messages for Toot Strudles and seeing each character’s own channel become part of the film. While the budget is low, the ideas are big here and I had a blast watching it. I also love that they made a real site for Str33ker, with longer versions of the videos showed in the film.

Directed by Sophia Cacciola (the upcoming Blood of the Triblade) and Michael J. Epstein, this movie does a great job of jumping tone and even genre as the film goes on. It’s always a struggle for horror comedy to determine what side of the equation that they will land upon, but Clickbair straddles that line quite well.

DISCLAIMER: We were sent this movie by its PR team, but that has no impact on our review.

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