Synopsis: Josh Fosse is a 20something guy whose life is going nowhere. His girl left, his rent is late, and he lacks a real job. He is trying to make it as an app reviewer online and decides to review a self help app called i-Lived for fun. He’s signs on and immediately his life turns around. He meets the girl of his dreams and he gets a job offer he can’t refuse. Convinced it’s him and not the app, he signs out… and loses everything. He signs on again but this time the terms are different, the app is asking him to do things that are out of his moral comfort zone… but essential to becoming the success the app tells him he can be.
Release Date: July 3, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller
Director Franck Khalfoun had one of the best movies of 2012 with his terrific and terrifying Maniac reimagining. So, how does he follow it up? With the lukewarm techno-horror film i-Lived.
I-Lived is about a twenty-something slacker named Josh Fosse (Jeremiah Watkins from “Animeme”) who runs a video blog called “J-Tech” during which he reviews different mobile apps. He discovers an app called i-Lived that promises to help the user realize his goals and, being that Josh is single, broke, and unemployed, he decides to give it a try. The way the app works is that the user inputs a specific goal and the app will assign custom missions to be completed in order for the user to attain that goal. At first, the app is fun for Josh, telling him how to pick up on girls at bars and get people to subscribe to his channel. But, as Josh’s goals get loftier, the missions get more demanding. Eventually, Josh realizes that the app is not working inside a vacuum, and his missions affect other users and vice-versa.
The problem with movies that rely heavily on modern technology for their major plot elements is that technology is always advancing, so the film ends up looking dated and silly a few years later. That was the case with Feardotcom. That was the case with Pulse. That was the case with One Missed Call. And that will be the case with i-Lived. Franck Khalfoun’s screenplay reads like an old technophobic episode of “The Twilight Zone” that has been padded out to feature film length. Actually, it’s more like an old episode of “The Hitchhiker” or “Darkroom,” because it doesn’t have the universality of a Rod Serling production. Or the potential lasting power.
The most glaring weakness in i-Lived is the main character, Josh. Plainly put, he’s annoying. His frat-boy mannerisms are annoying. His slacker attitude is annoying. Even his poorly-produced video blog is annoying. Some of that is purposeful, of course – if he had his life together, why would he need the i-Lived app to meet women and build a fan base for his show? But there’s literally nothing about the guy that’s likeable, so the audience has nothing invested in him. But, maybe that’s the point. Maybe the app is the protagonist and Josh is the antagonist, and Khalfoun has just flipped the script on the classic narrative (hey, after Maniac, anything is possible with Franck Khalfoun)? Probably not. But that theory makes i-Lived a better movie.
I-Lived isn’t a total waste of time. It’s entertaining, and there are a few good twists that keep it going until the end. It’s just a one-and-done kind of movie; it’s good for a watch, but will be forgotten soon after. If i-Lived was an actual mobile app, it would be safe to delete it as soon as you’re done with it.
There’s nothing really scary about i-Lived. It’s more of a suspense mystery than a horror film, but there’s not even enough tension built up to make it effectively suspenseful. There are a few attempts at being mysteriously creepy, and a couple of scenes of violence and brutality make their way into the fold, but there’s not much there that’s going to have viewers looking over the shoulder or checking under their bed. It’s good mindless entertainment, and it’s interesting enough to keep the audience’s attention, but there’s nothing in i-Lived that’s going to follow anyone home from the theater.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Franck Khalfoun
- Producer(s): Ehud BleibergPavlina HatoupisFranck KhalfounAlix Taylor
- Screenwriter(s): Brian BreiterFranck Khalfoun
- Cast: Jeremiah WatkinsThomas PaytonSarah Power Shannon CollisElaine PartnowJan BrobergLuis Fernandez-GilMaja MiletichChris Mena
- Editor(s): Martinos Aristidou
- Cinematographer: Christopher LaVasseur
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer: Mairi Chisholm
- Casting Director(s): Melissa Delizia
- Music Score: Mathieu Carratier
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA