Apps don’t kill people. People kill people.
Don’t you hate it when your teenage best friend has a heart attack and then one of her installed apps still sends you invites? That app is Bedeviled, a “Siri-like” app where a Klaus Nomi silhouette with a red bow tie talks to you about your life and gets to know you before exploiting your deepest fears to scare you dead. It’s something like A Nightmare On App Street, except there is no backstory, front story or any story to justify this movie.
A multicultural group of teenagers are momentarily distraught by the death of Nikki, supposedly one of their best friends even though they hadn’t seen or spoken to her in over a week, when they get an invite from Bedeviled. After giving a moment’s thought to the zombie nature of this invite, they install the app who proceeds to take control of their life. It turns lights off but not back on. It tells the black guy that all of the restaurants are closed suggesting he eats some fried chicken and watermelon instead. Mr. Bedeviled helpfully posts the teenagers’ Romeo and Juliet sex scene on Instagram. Most annoyingly of all, he manifests their worst nightmares in full reality. Bedeviled is some evil cross between Freddy Krueger, The Babadook, and those Impractical Jokers guys on TruTV (truly the worst of the bunch).
Though these teenagers are morons, they’re not unlikable and almost sympathetic if they weren’t portrayed by such terrible actors. You kind of feel sorry for their generic asses when they get terrorized by their phones. On the other hand, they installed an unknown app and kind of deserved it. Guys, never download apps you don’t know. The devil might be in it.
This is very much a PG-13 horror movie that exchanges violence for extremely loud stingers at frequent intervals. There’s even a boys locker room scene where everybody is fully dressed, even in the backgrounds; not to mention, the sex scene is tastefully recorded from outside looking up at the bedroom window. It’s not like sex and violence makes a horror movie scary, but sometimes it helps make that movie entertaining, especially when the actors are giving community college-level performances and the plot is churning its wheels to hit the 90 minute mark.
Take for instance a scene where they’re all gathered around a pool. One of the blond girls gets all depressed and angsty because the black guy suggests the phone might be haunted and decides to leave. Then, her hunky boyfriend is all “Stop. Wait. I’ll come with you” and even puts his hand on his knee as if he was going to get up. He doesn’t actually follow through with the move and it takes an extra beat before the girl’s best friend says “No, I’ll go with her.” And then he gives the expression of, “Psh. Girls, amirite? I would have gone with her, but you see how they are.” Sadly this isn’t to add to his character so much as to provide an excuse for him not to be in the next scene. It’s just bad acting. And it’s neither the first nor the last time we’re told the app is haunted or evil. It’s just there.
Despite a terrible script and bad acting, every now and then a gem scene pops up. Here’s this rant from a friendly cop:
What are you kids on these days? Huh? Molly? Skunk? Finnies? Smack? Poppers? Sniffin’ each other’s dirty underwears? Is that how all you young idiots burn your college funds: posting on Facebood your little passed out orgies? You know how many stupid degenerates I’ve caught using social media? And your goddamned selfies!! I can’t even tell the difference between a duck face and an asshole!! I’m going to kill you all. I’M GOING TO KILL YOU ALL!
Seriously, that is some fine ranting done by this single scene police officer. By the time the movie gets into the weirdest cross-cutting climax ever, you’re either with this on a lame level or quieting the volume on the television so the extra loud stingers stop waking you up every 10 minutes.
Before I forget, this DVD had the most black crush I’ve ever seen in my life. In the opening shot, the digital artifacts take over the scene and make much of it a black mud. It’s atrocious. In brighter light, the camerawork is not so bad (and sometimes kind of cheeky). But, good lord, that crush…