Writer-director Franck Khalfoun, whose last movie was the visceral remake of MANIAC, here crafts a 21st century incarnation of the “Be careful what you wish for” brand of horror archetype. Gawky grad student Jeremiah Watkins is behind on his bills, horny and harassed by his Dad to do something constructive with his life.
The flamboyant host of an app-reviewing videocast, he gives a poor rating to a positive-enforcement self-help app named “I-Lived” but then finds its interactive approach to goal-setting is remarkably successful. Soon he’s sleeping with previously unobtainable women and getting eight million viewers online. You think there will be some sinister consequences? Fashionably employing some of the tools of contemporary found footage horror (Skype calls, phone screens, security cameras), I-LIVED is an increasingly creepy extension of the technophobic cycle of J-horror. Following a relatively light first half involving FIGHT CLUB-like exuberant public antics, Khalfoun amps up the dread while offering a witty commentary on our culture’s lazy – and, here, lethal – inability to read user agreements. Watkins is terrific in the lead, energetically essaying a typical 21st century stooge for an ancient evil, and there’s some amusing dialogue: “You didn’t sell your soul away on your IPhone, alright?”
Review by Steven West