A reserved high school senior (25-year-old Emma Roberts) finds herself walking the Wild Side after signing on to a hot new phone app, where shadowy viewers on The Internets goad participants into a series of paid dares. As the challenges ramp up, she finds herself paired with another young player (31-year-old Dave Franco) with a mysterious knowledge of the game’s inner workings. There’s a germ of a good, nasty idea about modern voyeurism at the core of this achingly trendy exploitation flick, where reality doesn’t exist unless it gets recorded. That concept gives the first half of the movie some genuine juice, especially when bolstered with the presence of the two appealing leads. What ultimately sinks the film, however, is that directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (the Catfish guys) can’t settle on a consistent style, switching from faux Unfriended screengrabs to slow-motion party sequences to muted PG-13 Purge anarchy without any real connective tissue or sense of purpose. The result is a movie that becomes rather hilariously dated while you watch. If production had begun a few hours later, there’d be Pokémon crammed into every frame.
Director: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
Producer: Allison Shearmur, Anthony Katagas and Jeanne Ryan
Cast: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Juliette Lewis, Emily Meade, Miles Heizer, Brian Marc, Kimiko Glenn, Samira Wiley, Colson Baker, Marc Jefferies, Ed Squires, Rightor Doyle and Eric D'Alessandro