Unless you've lived in a cave since the inception of the internet then you've been a victim, a perpetrator and a witness to cyberbullying. The British TV film Cyberbully starring Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones fame is a brilliant in it's idea and execution.
Maisie plays Casey a teenager who is forced by a hacker to do his/her bidding. With the threat of compromising pictures being posted online of her.
It all begins with a seemingly innocent but justified revenge on her ex who had tweeted a personal piece of information about her in a hurtful manner. She is given access to his account and posts a tweet from him that would destroy any males reputation, especially a teenage boys.
I originally thought the tweet was too long but apparently it's just within the limits of the 140 character limit which is surprising considering the amount of punctuation within it. This just goes to show the level of thought that went into the film.
From skype, to spotify, to twitter, the film's choice in technology and apps is designed to speak to this generation of children, teens, young people and parents as we all use one or more of these. The laptop is unbranded as far as I could tell to make it as universal as possible.
Finally the choice in having Maisie Williams as the central character is pivotal in how it was received by this audience as most will have tuned in simply for the fact that she was in it.
For good reason too as Maisie's performance is nothing short of brilliant as she plays opposite a screen for most of it with the only other notable presences in the film being the short appearance of her best friend, Alex a guy from school and her father. The best comparison I can think of is Simon Pegg's performance in A Fantastic Fear of Everything.
There are multiple shots from birds eye view to portray the solitude that Casey has to endure throughout this ordeal as she is completely and entirely alone except for her and the screen where her unseen attacker lives.
First catfishing her into believing he is Alex the guy from school she is lulled into a sense security before realising all is not right. First she is led to believe that he is there to help her as a victim of cyberbullying but the film slowly journeys into darkness as the hacker forces Casey to examine her recent online actions and shows that she herself is the bully.
The use of the laptop camera as a twisted POV shot from the eyes of the hacker is where it hits close to home for anyone watching as this is something that everyone watching is probably a little afraid of, someone looking at you through this digital eye.
The film forces us all to think about what we do online, the posts we send to other people, the posts we allow other people to send, the pictures we take of ourselves & send up to the cloud and most importantly our relationship with technology. Albeit more than a little creepy, I would encourage everyone to watch this when they get a chance.
Fair warning however you might feel a little like this afterwards...
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