Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Margot Robbie, Christian Radford, James R. Dean, Matt Flannigan, Anna-Lisa Horton, Kane Sarota, Aash Aaron
Written and directed by Aash Aaron
The title I.C.U. is actually meant to be a cutesy acronym for the phrase “I See You”. The film opens with a quote from some Australian law enforcement official decrying the lack of privacy in a world where video cameras are everywhere. The reasoning for this quote, I assumed, was that the film to follow might actually attempt to make a point about this modern technological reality. Not really. Instead it just appeared to have been the excuse for the director to go buck wild with security camera P.O.V. shots. I would describe the filmmaker’s shooting style as frequently resembling Paranormal Activity 2 as directed by Tony Scott if he suffered from Tourette’s syndrome of the eyeball. Spastic ADD editing and camerawork set to a crappy industrial metal/big beat soundtrack I fully expect to get recycled if Fox ever gets the bad idea to produce a cheap, direct-to-DVD sequel to Fight Club. More like a desperate visual attempt to distract us from the fact that the plot is virtually non-existent.
I.C.U. takes place almost entirely in an apartment that appears to have more security cameras in it than a federal bank. Two characters also constantly run around with a video camera recording everything in human existence, particularly the nighttime activities going on in other apartments seen from their window-view regardless of how salacious or mundane it may be; in Australia curtains must be illegal or taboo or something. The unseen serial killer records handheld POV video of victims being tortured to death. Nobody can even use so much as a laptop without the scene being filmed from the webcam’s point-of-view. There are so many scenes shot to look like we’re seeing it through the viewfinder of a video camera that it reached the point I had no idea at times who or what was supposed to be filming those particular shots.
Mom drops off teenage sister and brother, the insanely hot Tristan (Margot Robbie) and the easily hatable Troy (Christian Radford), along with Troy’s dipshit friend Ricky (James R. Dean) to stay with their workaholic policeman father (Matt Flannigan, imagine an angrier, hairier, Australian Jason Statham) in his new apartment for the first time since the parents separated.
I cannot stress to you how much I wanted to punch this Troy kid in the face. His character is such a contemptible, whiny, surly dickwad. That his facial features resemble Jon Heder only made me want to punch him that much more so. When he actually does get punched in the face, it was the feel-good moment of the film. Had he suffered a horrible bloody death, I’d have rescinded this negative review and hailed I.C.U. the best movie of 2010.
Teenagers pissing and moaning, being obnoxious and engaging in trivial activities is what constitutes most of the running time of this predominately plotless rubbish. Can we please watch another overhead security camera point-of-view shot of someone walking down the hallway? How about some more endlessly long montages of what’s going on in apartments across the way that have nothing to do with anything? Is that a yes? Thank goodness. And here I thought this might actually be a horror movie. Oh, but it is. Can’t you tell from the handful of very brief killer POV scenes of bloody, bound and gagged victims about to get finished off with a power tool that pop up from time-to-time in between the teenage son bitching about how much he can’t stand his dad and Ricky’s constant lusting after Tristan, who the movie keeps finding ways to put in various stages of undress without giving us any money shots?
It won’t be until about 58 minutes into a barely 80-minute movie that the actual plot of witnessing a possible serial killer in action takes center stage.
IT TOOK NEARLY AN HOUR TO GET TO THE FREAKING PLOT!
The killer quickly realizes he’s being spied on and decides to give his peeping toms a visit. They hide as he sneaks in the front door and then… the movie immediately does a fade out, and when it fades in, all three teens are slightly bloodied and bound and gagged on the couch as the killer stands before them with a video camera taunting them. How did this happen? Nearly an hour of nothing but credits, filler, and bullshit; yet, it skips right past the all-important scene of how this killer managed to sneak into an apartment seemingly unarmed and subdue the three teenage protagonists? Are you fucking kidding me?
Because by this point there is now less than ten minutes left to go that means little time can be wasted before jumping right to the improbable twist ending. As unlikely as that twist ending was, at least there was a thread of logic behind the motivation for it. The same cannot be said of the double twist ending to follow it; that revelation comes from so far out of left field, is so absurdly illogical, and in all honesty doesn’t really have any true impact on the outcome, I might have actually found this plot twist laughable had everything preceding not pissed me off like fire for wasting my valuable time.
Interminable. Crap. Useless.
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