Like Me is an indictment of a life spent “extremely” online: a thriller in which the thrill is the threat of empty transgression; a body horror flick in which the body horror is the way social media and Tumblr and Reddit and YouTube transform us, make us grotesque, perverting basic physical functions into scary, dysmorphic representations of the flesh sacks we carry around with us whenever we’re not online. Early in the film, writer-director Robert Mockler introduces us to the online world of our main character, Kiya (Addison Timlin, terrifying), via a disturbing barrage of hyperreal, gif-like images—close-ups of sugary cereal and milk chewed sloppily, of a viscous tongue mid-slurp, of Kiya doing weird kinesthetics in a dirty motel room while the camera capsizes and arises around her, this Manic Pixie Dream Girl who embodies each of those words as literally as possible. Though Mockler implies that these are all curated posts Kiya’s put online, we believe that this is how she sees the world. Aided by some seriously heady opioids and hallucinogens, she can’t help but digest her lived experiences without mitigating them digitally. As Kiya moves through Mockler’s pink-ish, neon dystopia, DP James Siewert shooting Timlin as if she’s stranded in the middle of a Michael Mann joint, everything seems on the table. Kiya lures a motel manager, Marshall (Larry Fessenden, better than excellent), to her room—another room, another motel, somewhere on this stupid planet—with the possibility of sex. Instead, he finds Kiya’s redecorated her room like an outtake from The Cell, testing the lonely guy’s willingness to go along with whatever insanity’s in store. Of course, some icky gastrointestinal calamity occurs, but Marshall never flinches, so Kiya kidnaps him and takes him with her. Gorgeous and gross in equal measure, Like Me is a visual feast. Mockler conjures setpieces out of practically nothing, crafting each frame with a meticulous symmetry that belies the chaos at the heart of Kiya’s impulsive odyssey. —Dom Sinacola
SIGNED Blu-ray/DVD GIVEAWAY ! SHARE (Facebook, Instagram) or RETWEET (Twitter)
this and you’ll be eligible to win a signed LIKE ME Blu-ray or DVD!
Signed by indie horror legend Larry Fessenden
& writer/director Robert Mockler!
Giving away 2 copies. Ends August 14th.
Winners announced August 17th. US only.
From the opening seconds, Like Me (2017) had me in its grip with its mesmerizing splash of color. Even the Glass Eye Pix logo became a mini LSD trip as it flashed across the screen, and not in a cheesy way. Robert Mockler and company were able to capture a hyper-neon reality and ride it for the duration of the film’s slim 83-minute run time. For a debut movie Mockler really makes a visual statement here.
Starring Addison Timlin, Ian Nelson, and Larry Fessenden, Like Me is a meditation on loneliness and disconnectedness in an overly connected world. Timlin plays a sort of YouTube criminal/thrill seeker. You can’t really like her, but you can’t take your eyes off her either. She’s at turns obnoxious, vulnerable, scary, adorable, and broken. Timlin possesses the role to the point you may forget she’s an actress playing a role. Ian Nelson plays an acerbic critic of her work.
Though Nelson gets less screen time, there is a complexity to his character as well. I found myself hating him and agreeing him with within the same video rant. Filmmaker Larry Fessenden is probably the most sympathetic character in the film and it might be my favorite character he’s played since his own film, Habit (1995). Fessenden often shows up in smaller cameo roles, but he really displays his chops as a sad sack hotel owner with an unfulfilled artistic heart that gets sucked into Timlin’s web of deceit and danger.
The shift in color pallets towards the end of the film and the jarring jumps from phone footage – that has a more muted/realistic tone – back to the film’s hyper-color world is used to great effect. This helps Like Me be a movie you experience rather than just view. There are times when the film is obnoxious, too. I think intentionally so to match Timlin’s character and her video experiments. Repeated images, stuttering soundtrack, extreme close-ups of teeth chomping junk food are repulsive. But because she’s eating brightly colored foods, like Fruity Pebbles and gummy worms, it’s also strangely pretty.
Robert Mockler has planted his flag and declared himself with Like Me, and I’m excited to see what he does next. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray is gorgeous and for me this is a movie worth buying rather than just streaming. It includes a making-of documentary as well.
From Film School Rejects:
Special Q&A with Ian Nelson and executive producer Peter Phok.
Following the 6:00PM screening, TONIGHT!
Arena Cinelounge Sunset
6464 Sunset Blvd. Hollywood, Ca. 90028
‘Like Me’ peers into dark corners of anti-social media
“Like Me” makes a case for describing one corner of the web as anti-social media, in that the need to connect online can send certain souls toward ever-darker impulses. (Logan Paul, pay attention.)
In this woolly, weird portrait of maladjusted loneliness, Addison Timlin plays Kiya, a pixie-ish, peripatetic, thrill-seeking millennial who turns phone-captured encounters with fringe denizens of the night — a convenience store clerk who thinks he’s being held up, a homeless man she plies with food — into squirrelly online content designed to stoke responses from fans and trolls alike.
Her crime spree takes a turn when she lures a skeevy middle-aged motel owner (indie horror stalwart Larry Fessenden, who also produced) into a costumed sex scenario involving junk food, torture and kidnapping, but that morphs into a perversely emotional connection over their separate statuses as outsiders. Perhaps realizing his setup is intriguing if dramatically thin, writer-director Robert Mockler deploys a healthy skill with Kubrick-torqued visual experimentation — interjected video installations — that keep the tension up and the psychological terrain appealingly destabilized.
Both impish and melancholy, with Timlin and Fessenden handily shifting the molecules in the air each time they share a scene, “Like Me” has an eccentric bravura to it. It’s like an artisanal cocktail of modern-day danger, pain and alienation: whether it wants you to sip or gulp, it finds its way into your head.
Despite a long resumé as a producer, director, and actor, Larry Fessenden isn’t exactly a household name, outside of diehard horror circles. Fessenden, however, always has the larger world in mind. His mostly low-budget movies all incorporate larger themes alongside the scares. Fessenden acts in and produces Like Me, in which a young woman named Kiya (Addison Timlin) causes a firestorm of controversy via line-crossing prank videos. It’s the first feature from writer/director Robert Mockler, and Fessenden took on the project via his company, Glass Eye Pix. We spoke with Fessenden about bringing new filmmakers under his wing, the role social media plays in our lives, and how this year’s Academy Awards is part of a changing perception of horror movies on a whole.