Cybernatural (2014)


Cover art:


Starring Shelley Hennig, Renee Olmstead, Moses Jacob Storm

Directed by Levan Gabriadze

Let me just preface this review with somewhat of a disclaimer: If you have no patience for the myriad of technological advances that we’ve endured in our lifetime, then Cybernatural is NOT the film for you. However, if you’re a Twittering, Skyping, Facebookin’ kind of Googler that loves to SnapChat selfies to your Instagram, then this movie is right up your USB port.

It takes the beaten down formula of found footage horror POV and ramps it up in a new direction: over the shoulder of an adolescent girl while she’s online with a group of friends. Tackling a severe social problem in today’s film showcase is a dicey business, especially when it involves teen bullying (cyber-bullying in this case). Cybernatural opens with a disturbing clip of a teen girl committing suicide, all filmed on the little device of public intrusion used worldwide- a smartphone.

The film moves to a single-shot view of Blaire’s (Hennig) computer screen as she happily video-chats with a few pals, including her boyfriend, Mitch (Storm). The everyday chatter turns to stunned silence when mysterious messages begin to pop up on everyone’s screen, and they just happen to be coming from Laura, the deceased girl’s (Heather Sossaman), profile page.? The friends’ innermost secrets and vices are revealed amongst incriminating pictures and online communications thought to be only sent between each other.

Immediate doubt begins to spread throughout the friends like wildfire as to which? one of them is playing the prank of a lifetime. When one of the group is apparently killed online AFTER being warned by Laura “not to hang up,” the tension rises and the mice begin to click so fast and furious that you could swear on a stack of bibles that the unique choking stench of electrical components burning is right under your nose. Make no mistake; this is indeed creepy and effective.

The only problem is the fashion in which we are trafficked to each scare- through multi-screen clicking, copying, pasting and re-sizing, basically all-around multi-tasking. It can be trying to sit through and I liken it to sitting over someone’s shoulder watching them web-surf… endlessly.?

Be that as it may, there is a solid subliminal message here in the anti-bullying subject matter, and it prevails mightily amidst the horrors of possession and paranormal capacities. Director Levan Gabriadze, who up to this point had only served double-duty (acting and directing) while in Russia, gives the audience one more reason to peer over their shoulders while online because apparently the NSA aren’t the only ones spying on you while you’re bangin’ away on the keyboard.

3 out of 5

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