We live in a world of instant entertainment, gratification and communication, our lives wrapped in a digital world of likes, shares, comments and viral videos, the ability to distinguish between reality, fiction, pain, and pleasure caught in a trap of instant gratification. Over the years, many horrors and thrillers have explored this new online world, from uwantme2killhim? to Unfriended and Assassination Nation; however, the world of violent online pornography has often remained taboo until now, as this is the world into which G-Hey Kim’s Don’t Click bravely descends.
Based on G-Hey Kim’s 2017 short film of the same name, the transition to a feature-length story is handled carefully, as are the social themes at work. Here Kim delves into themes of reality versus fiction and culpability versus ignorance; it is, therefore, a pity that Kim ultimately opts to pad out the 90-minute runtime with a descent into mainstream torture porn. Due to this, Don’t Click will undoubtedly divide critics and audiences as to whether it fully achieves a cutting dissection of a dark and harmful world of violent online porn. Here its initial premise that some doors should never be opened falters as it tries to find a mainstream horror audience, a fatal mistake in so many promising horrors.
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The initial set-up is simple; Josh (Valter Skarsgård) returns from a drunken night out to find his college roommate, Zane (Mark Koufos), missing. The only sign of Zane is his open laptop still glowing with a graphic and violent pornography website. Josh seems unsurprised by the content on the screen before suddenly blacking out. When he wakes, he finds himself in a dark cellar, the screams of Zane echoing through the walls, as a deformed holographic man appears. Thus begins our tale of the online viewing habits of one boy and the guilt of the other.
Don’t Click partly achieves its goal within the cutaway moments exploring the relationship between Zane and Josh. Meanwhile, its torture porn focus on the body’s pleasure centres are graphic in content while attempting to discuss themes of misogyny and addiction. However, despite the undeniable intelligence of the screenplay, solid performances and design, the blood and gore take centre stage in a movie that ultimately loses its way early on. But, while it may lack the time and skill needed to do justice to the themes at its core, the resulting film does manage to be a horrifying exploration of individual responsibility in our online world.
Director: G-Hey Kim