We’ve had chatroom horror, we’ve had social media horror, we’ve had Skype horror…now, here’s Franck Khalfoun’s i-Lived, which offers viewers an evil app.
The new film from the director of the Maniac remake and the forever-on-the-shelf Amityville: The Awakening finds penniless app reviewer Josh (Jeremiah Watkins) near the end of his rope when he downloads life improvement app i-Lived.
Sure enough, the goals he puts into his phone seem to come true, and he suddenly has a hot girlfriend and a load more subscribers to his video channel.
But what’s the price for all of this? And what happens when Josh decides he doesn’t want the app anymore?
Given how polished Maniac was despite its POV camerawork, it’s a little disappointing to see how visually uninspiring i-Lived is. Much of that is to do with the significant found-footage element of the film, but it doesn’t really help the general feeling that this would have worked better as a short film. Stretched over a 97 minute running time, the movie’s flaws become increasingly hard to forgive.
Watkins puts in an energetic turn in the lead, although he doesn’t always nail the switch from his hyper online persona to his increasingly terrified and tortured real world counterpart. He works best when Khalfoun plays up the comedy of his situation, and the same goes for the film.
The filmmakers are clearly aware of the silliness of their premise and they have some fun with things like the terms and conditions of the app (of course no one reads the contract). Even the big reveal is so on the nose that it has to be tongue in cheek. However, it’s never really funny enough to show any interest in being a comedy, and it does get pretty dark in the final third, which is jarring considering what’s come before.
Too self-aware and silly to be scary, but not really funny to work as a dark comedy, i-Lived has its moments and a couple of decent jumps, but this is a disappointing chiller that probably would have worked better as a Tales From The Crypt.