IF LIKES COULD KILL *** USA 2019 Dir: S.J. Doss. 12 mins
Prolific independent filmmaker S(teve) J Doss – who also helmed the shorts THE COMMITMENT and THE EYES THAT SEE IN THE DARK – wrote, directed and composed the OMEN-esque score for this horror satire of a narcissistic 21st century culture desperate to be famous for the sake of being famous.
A pair of deluded would-be musicians (Rashieda Awan, Vincent Quintiliani) lament skinny-jean “fuckboy” rappers and “corny ass cunts” with chipmunk voices as they film their torture of a captive middle-aged suit (Joe Schuck) out of jealousy of his other clients. “Me alone is the material. Everyone wants a piece of this…” Doss has fun with the familiar torture movie set-up – all captured, naturally, on a smart phone – as the preening, self-aggrandising antagonists foolishly put all their money into social media marketing despite the alarming absence of any semblance of talent or decent material.
The film takes pot-shots at an obvious but worthy target, with all-too-familiar images of typical urban environments where interchangeable bystanders stare at their phones, take pictures of their own cupcake and track their “likes” while driving and / or crossing the road. It’s performed with gusto and engages en route to a guessable but fun ironic twist – and a satisfyingly grim end note. Shame about the predictably rubbish CGI fire, however.
Review by Steven West