Wednesday 14 October 2009


Though McLuhan's "global village" was a conceptual space in which the instantaneous transmission of information heightened people's awareness, the village was a place of disagreement and discontent. Communication and information didn't breed unity and harmony, only diversity. Thoughtful and compelling arguments can be made for both sides of the issue: on the one hand, the Internet has indeed allowed people to pull away from face-to-face interaction; on the other hand, the Internet has facilitated contact with people across the globe. The contradiction is summed up by Sandra as she explains to Christine that she has one thousand friends on the social networking site "facespace" but doesn't actually know them.

It might seem like old news, but the point is no less valid and is the driving force behind the movie. Simply put, we don't always know who we're talking to online. Now if only the rest of the movie were that straightforward. iMurders is, frankly, a terrible mess of a film.

The story begins with a man caught cheating on his wife. The ensuing argument ends in the death of...someone. Flash forward to ten months later and Sandra is moving in to a new apartment in New Jersey. She makes fast friends with Christine, her landlord, and teaches the woman about computers. Sandra also manages to bed the resident hottie, Joe, a former police officer. Once a week Sandra logs into facespace and enters a chatroom populated by a handful of people around the US. Each month their moderator prepares a game for them to play, and because it's October, the game is to guess the horror movie he's thinking of. As he's introducing the game, the mod is killed and Sandra sees it happen via webcam. But she thinks it's part of the fun. As the various members of the chatroom go about their lives, fewer and fewer log on each week; they're being killed one at a time and Sandra, she realizes, is last on the list.

Meanwhile...Joe is dealing with the death of his brother who was killed by Lindsay's lawyer, the same man who murdered Janet's girlfriend. Professor Uberoth's affair with another teacher is suspected by the granddaughter of Janet's psychiatrist but is ultimately made public by Uberoth's wife. And Joe's sister Lori who is about the close the case on their dead brother discovers that Sandra might be the chatroom killer.

If there was ever a movie suffered from too much plot, this is it. I'm convinced the filmmakers actually lost track of the story at one point. I know I did. What could have been a simple movie about a guy who kills everyone who belongs to this one chat, is instead a convoluted multi-faceted tale of murder (chatroom killer), more murder (ritual slayings), adultery, and overcoming tragedy.

Though the film is badly acted by some of the players, poorly shot, and terribly edited, the worst thing about it is the script. The film focuses on four of the eight or nine people in the weekly chat and goes to rediculous lengths to weave their lives together in an effort to add wholely uncessary depth to the story.

What's more is the police's disvery of the chatroom killer happens entirely outside the story. One day someone is the victim of a brutal attack in their home, and the next a series of seemingly random and disparate murders are connected through the chatroom. Furthermore, at no point are the chat members made aware of the danger, nor do the feds expend any real energy in tracking down the killer.

Now, I understand iMurders is supposed to be a slasher(?), but if you're going to going to introduce the police you have to actually include them in the plot. Because modern slashers are, to a greater or lesser degree, murder mysteries. And the job of the police, regardless of how well they perform their duties, is to solve and prevent crime.

In addition to a badly written and overly plotted script, the film also suffers from an inattention to detail. Lindsay was knifed in a club, her face was cut. But her make up makes her look like a burn victim. The film is supposed to play out over the month of October, and the passage of time is marked by the weekly chats. But it takes the moderator two weeks just to get the game rolling before he's killed and he's the first to die. By all accounts the film should end sometime in mid-November and not around Halloween.

Perhaps most perplexing is the cast. For some reason the cast list includes Charles Durning, William Forsythe, Gabrielle Anwar, Billy Dee Williams, and the Candyman himself, Tony Freaking Todd. I don't know how or why these people are in this movie but thier presence just proves the fact that a good actor can't salvage a bad script.

All that rambling I did at the start of this review, about the complexities of globalization in the age of information comes down to this: In a cunning and twisted act of irony, it was the Internet that brought me into contact with iMurders, a movie I wish I hadn't seen.

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