Before I get into the plot, I have to acknowledge that god-awful title. As soon as you hear the words “Selfie from Hell” you immediately know this is not going to be a movie to take seriously – and yet, somehow the filmmakers expected us to. To straighten out any misconceptions this title might induce, this movie is not about someone finding a selfie sent from hell, nor is it about someone taking a selfie so bad that it would spark someone saying, “Oh, wow. That selfie’s so bad; it’s the selfie from hell!” No. This movie is about a woman whose cousin was a vlogger, investigating rumors about the “deep web” who then subsequently found herself possessed by some evil entity. Determined to find out the truth about her cousin, the woman digs deeper into the darkest parts of the internet until discovering the horrific truth. What is the truth? Some creepy dude in a dark room is strapping people to chairs and forcing them to take an arbitrary number of selfies (I can’t remember the number, let’s say 13 to use a semi-significant one) until a demon appears and takes them to hell – at least I think that’s what happens. It’s not immediately clear what happens to his victims but nevertheless, it’s retarded.
With the sudden wave of social media horror movies that have sprung up over the past couple of years, it was only a matter of time until someone made a horror movie about the narcissistic habit people have of taking selfies. I want to say I was surprised when I heard about this movie, but my initial reaction (beyond disappointment) was a complacent sigh. They made a horror movie about selfies? Of course they did. We’ve had the Skype horror movie and the Facebook horror movie and the horror movie about the girls obsessed with Twitter, so this was naturally the next logical step for the genre. Meanwhile I find myself growing increasingly concerned that I’m just getting too old to connect to these horror movies that target a seemingly younger and younger audience. I still hold out hope for future generations of horror creators, though. We seem to have made it over the “found footage” mountain of bullshit only to slide down into a swamp of social media-based horror. While I’m glad to not be disoriented by shaky cameras anymore, I did not expect the next phase to be full of so many pop-up’s and hashtags.
I can’t completely discredit the film because it did have some moments that were jumpy and dark, but the majority of the film is centered around such a ridiculous plot that these moments can’t save it. As soon as the woman starts taking selfies in order to see an invisible demon (because in this world, apparently they only show up behind you while you’re taking a selfie), you are reminded of how dumb this is. They even involve the phone screen cracking once you’ve taken a sufficient number of selfies to become a potential victim for the demon. I want to discuss the details of the movie further but I can’t get passed this absolutely silly plot. What kind of demon cares about selfies, let alone punishes you if you take too many? If this movie is trying to have some kind of topical, underlying message about the dumbing down of society due to people taking selfies, that’s something we already know. Idiots pose while doing menial tasks and take pictures of themselves. I didn’t need a horror movie to get preachy and explain that to me.
I almost expected this to be a sort of horror parody in the tone of ‘Cabin in the Woods’ or ‘Drag Me to Hell’, and had it not taken itself so seriously I think this idea could have worked. However, when you have a title like ‘Selfie from Hell’ and don’t have anything remotely humorous in the movie, it just becomes a big letdown. No one went into this movie expecting it to be serious, but not only was it serious; it was trying to have a message. Gross.
This movie is…
Should have been a comedy.
Cheers and goodnight.