Thursday, 23 June 2016

i-Lived (2016)

“Another decent horror picture from the director of the MANIAC remake”

Oh yes indeed it is. i-LIVED might not be quite as good as Franck Khalfoun’s crackingly good 2012 slasher picture, but it certainly helps cement his growing reputation as one of the most promising horror film directors of the 21st century.

Nerdy, incredibly annoying Josh (Jeremiah Watkins) is in his 20s. Despite his Stanford university degree his life since graduating has been a dead loss. He has no money to pay his rent, and he spends his time reviewing apps online on his ‘J-Tech’ site. When he signs up to a new self-help app called ‘i-Lived’ his life suddenly takes a turn for the better. His ailing mother’s health improves, he acquires beautiful new girlfriend Greta (Sarah Power) and the likes for his site increase to the point where big business becomes interested. But when he unsubscribes from the app, things start to go horribly wrong, and he finds himself having to commit increasingly gruesome crimes to maintain the life he wants. 

         i-LIVED takes a while to get going, but even at the beginning there’s a fun 13 SINS / 13: GAME OF DEATH vibe to the challenges Josh has to meet in order to achieve his next life success. It’s when things get considerably darker that the style Khalfoun evidenced in MANIAC comes to the fore - clinical, coldly stylish and glitteringly cruel. Plot-wise, it’s unlikely any seasoned horror fans are going to be surprised where things are going, but style-wise the movie keeps you watching as you go there. 

         Full marks to Khalfoun for making the proceedings increasingly disorientating and nightmarish as we reach the climax as well. I’ll admit I still can’t work out if the character of Josh was intended to be almost unbearably annoying for the first two acts, thus making it all the more likely that he would need help to achieve his goals, or not, but don’t let the performance put you off. Second Sight’s DVD offers no extras, but go for the 5.1 surround sound option instead of standard stereo. 

I really liked i-LIVED. If it had been shown at something like Frightfest I don’t doubt it would have ended up in my top ten of the festival. Stylish and entertaining, it’s made me all the more enthusiastic for Franck Khalfoun’s AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING, and while it’s not quite a good as MANIAC, it confirms that he’s definitely a director to watch. 

Franck Khalfoun's i-LIVED is being made available to view in the UK as follows:

Download to own from Monday 27th June
On-demand from Monday 4th July
DVD from Monday 11th July

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