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T500FC, 472nd: Chatroom (Hideo Nakata, 2010)

March.1.2011

You’ve probably heard the name of the film’s director, Hideo Nakata; he jump started the Asian horror cinema back in the late nineties. He gave us the Ring series (Ring, Ring 2, The Ring Two) and the liquid horror, Dark Water. And if you are a Death Note fan, you are probably aware of his 2008 film, L: Change The World. Now, we have Ch@troom, a film based on a screenplay and this film also premiered in the recent Cannes festival. So, we have here a Japanese filmmaker trying to do something Western; let us check this one out.

The film, basically, is an outlook of, or what the director sees it, how people interact in chat rooms in the Internet. Some scenes provide you with the actual chat client using the computer while most of the scenes just give you a room of people who are represented by their counterparts in real life. Meaning, you won’t just see scrolling texts, ala chat room, but you’d actually see the people who are using it, as if they are really talking in real life. Sans the chat room, chat mates push the other chat mates to do something bad, in which it pursues until somebody gets hurt.

I’d like to say that the idea and the premise of this film look outstanding from the outside. I mean, with what we have today, we are practically looking for newer things we could listen or watch, even if we get the same point and logic over and over again. If I remember correctly, I saw Internet related films such as Summer Wars and Metanoia RPG. It speaks of the same language and this film is just on the level of the human touch, as opposed to just computer graphics or animation.

Now, the thing is, this one could’ve been available five to eight years ago. I started using the chat clients way back 1997. And it was funny that someone as hip as Hideo would come up with something that looks old. If he came out with this idea ten years ago, it would’ve been an eye-opener even if he used Asian actors. And now, it matters since it feels like most of the effort has been wasted and they could’ve shown something else, at least.

The narration of the story is quite wishy-washy. It was lost in a lot of levels and highlighting a few wasn’t that impressive, even the climax was just meh; as I’d rather watch something from the nineties such as the Three Ninjas rather than this.

I’d like to give this a chance though. I mean, when I was writing this article, I tried to come up with a film that has this exact same concept. I just wish, and if in case, someone else would want to do this kind of film, make it, at least, memorable for the viewer. Sometimes we just don’t want to waste our time on films that wouldn’t make a change or at least enjoy, so to say.

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