Directed by Gillian Wallace Horvat
Written by Gillian Wallace Horvat and Chase Williamson
Starring Gillian Wallace Horvat, Keith Paulson, Chase Williamson
For any up-and-coming director, or serial murderer, Gillian Wallace Horvat’s do-it-yourself dark horror comedy is probably required viewing. Smartly, I Blame Society is the perfect vessel for its star who also writes and directs, moving quickly from the viewing category of “Why do I like this?” to “I can’t stop watching!” Playing a meta version of herself, Horvat navigates the Hollywood adjacent version of L.A.’s indie film scene showing the shared struggle for a modicum of fame in a town built on desperation. At once a hilarious satire and a twisted fantasy, two questions are asked: “Why haven’t I made it yet?” and “Would you kill to make it in Hollywood?”
Weirding out her best friend and writing partner (Chase Williamson) after asking to pretend to kill his awful girlfriend and film it, Gillian is feeling a little down and out. Taking a bizarre compliment to heart that she would “make a good murderer,” Gillian decides to play a pretend killer preparing for the perfect crime. She films everything herself with a GoPro headset and bouncy selfie stick close-ups that document her descent (or ascent?) from struggling actress to fumbling femme fatale. After a hiking accident in Runyon Canyon (so Hollywood!) reveals Gillian’s dark side, she goes on a kill spree that should offer catharsis to any wannabe filmmakers with a sob story to tell.
Lambasting everything from sexist pitch meetings to the homelessness issue on Skid Row, I Blame Society starts to live up to its name by showing the ugliness of La La Land in all its many forms. The very real inequality between the famous and the forgotten – a Hollywood truth that has now become cliché – noticeably looms as Gillian becomes more and more wrapped up in her own murderous dreamland. Finding her true calling as a psycho starring in her own movie, Horvath simultaneously shows the ridiculousness of the Hollywood machine and the crazed lengths Gillian will go to be a part of it.
As things get a little more…complicated…Gillian’s movie within a movie gets more complicated, too. In order to get a few more angles, she hilariously adds another camera for tracking shots that looks like a German torture device attached to a rope pulley. It’s not clear whether or not Gillian thinks she’s creating a masterpiece of cinéma vérité but she’s definitely proud of her work. In a final send-up, the last scene matches up nicely to Gillian’s true vision providing a pitch perfect ending that adds a devilish accent to I Blame Society.
If you’re going to mock the trials and tribulations of making it in Hollywood, it’s much smarter and more authentically vulnerable to show the unending rejection rather than the occasional success. You can fill a lot of theaters with the Barry‘s of the world that can feel Horvat’s pain because they’ve lived it. That’s a much wider audience that will understand the biting commentary lurking underneath the supposed fun of Gillian’s killing spree. Any good casting agent will probably tell you to find what makes you unique and capitalize on it. After a thousand doors slamming, Gillian finally finds herself and even though we’re a little afraid of her, we can still relate.
I Blame Society is available now on VOD from Cranked Up Films.
Gillian Wallace Horvat’s killer satire shows just how fun it can be to be famous in your own head.