“Excellent low budget British thriller that keeps you guessing!”
Part of the fun of watching a low budget British movie and having no expectations from it is that you can never be quite sure what you’re going to get. At this year’s Frightfest it was the UK that gave us one of the best (Borderlands) and one of the worst (Outpost III, not that anyone was expecting much of that one). Anyone fancying an above average British Thriller from the low budget stable would be well advised to check out uwantme2killhim?. Admittedly, this film has a slightly better pedigree than many. One of the producers is Bryan Singer, director of The Usual Suspects and X-Men. The director, Andrew Douglas, was responsible for the remake of The Amityville Horror from 2005, but don’t let that put you off. The film begins with the now seemingly ubiquitous ‘based on true events’ title card, but don’t let that put you off, either.
The film is set in 2003. Popular and attractive 16-year-old Mark (Jamie Blackley) meets local girl Rachel (Jaime Winstone) over the internet and they develop an intense online relationship via the chatroom they both regularly visit. Rachel, however, has a number of problems, including violent boyfriend Kevin (Mingus Johnston) and a younger brother John (Toby Regbo), who is in Mark’s class and constantly bullied. Rachel asks Mark if he would look after John, and an awkward friendship begins. When Mark is told that Rachel has been found dead he swears revenge on Kevin. Mark’s scare tactics attract the attention of Janet, an MI5 anti-terrorism agent (Liz White – Annie from Life On Mars and the most recent filmic ‘Woman in Black’ herself) who warns him to stay away from the case.
Events take a more sinister turn as Janet claims John is part of a terrorist plot and asks Mark to intervene. What Mark eventually does ends up having repercussions for all concerned.
To say any more would be to spoil what turns out to be a very decent little thrill indeed, suffice to say that little of what is presented to the viewer at the beginning of the movie is actually what is happening, and events keep one guessing right up until the climax. It would be very easy to make a movie that is essentially about messages being exchanged in online chatrooms incredibly dull, but thanks to Andrew Douglas’ skill he manages to make these parts anything but.
Performances are all fine, with special kudos to the two young leads. It’s also refreshing to see a film that uses everyday drab ordinary English middle-class suburbia as its backdrop rather than conventional tower block miserabilism. Entertainment One’s DVD offers the film in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and not 1.78:1 as described by some online sources. The disc has a commentary track from director Douglas as an extra, along with a deleted scene that also come with optional commentary. Definitely worth checking out, uwantmetokillhim? offers a very satisfying twist on the e-messaging thriller subgenre.
JOHN LLEWELLYN PROBERT
Director: Andrew Douglas
Starring: Jamie Blackley, Toby Regbo, Joanne Frogatt, LIz White, Jamie Winstone
Running time: 93 minutes
Release date: 16 September 2013
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