(director/writer: Daniel Goldhaber; screenwriter: Isa Mazzei; cinematographer: Katelin Arizmendi; editor: Daniel Garber; music: Gavin Brivik; cast: Madeline Brewer (Alice/Lola), Patch Darragh (Tinker), Melora Walters (Lynne), Devin Druid (Jordan), Imani Hakim (Baby), Michael Dempsey (Barney), Flora Diaz (Fox), Samantha Robinson (Princess X), Jessica Parker Kennedy(Katie); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Isabelle Link-Levy, Adam Hendricks, John Lang, Greg Gilreath; Gunpowder & Sky; 2018)
“Absorbing and erotic techno-thriller.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Daniel Goldhaber, in his feature debut, is the writer-director of this absorbing and erotic techno-thriller. The co-writer Isa Mazzei is a former camgirl (sex fantasy worker on the Internet). The story is slight and there’s no satisfactory resolution to the crisis mystery, but all the techno gizmos are seemingly complex and keep things interesting. The primal fear fairy-tale-like story revolves around identity theft and doppelgangers, pushing the button on how many modern-day youths fear being locked out from such popular online things as social media, chat groups and porn sites.
The engaging twentysomething Alice Ackerman (Madeline Brewer) works as a webcam girl under the name of Lola, whose soft-core porn act is performed in her all-pink bedroom. Her wages are derived from tips by her men viewers. After boosting her ratings by performing macabre stunts (for example, with a super-vibrator), things take a chilling turn when suddenly the now popular Alice can’t get into her live-stream account and someone uses her face and voice for the act. When the live-streaming company is unhelpful, and the police are dismissive, the frightened Alice is determined to locate the hijacker who has stolen her act. The nasty hacker also reveals Alice’s secret profession to friends and family–which causes humiliation for her mother (Melora Walters) and raises awkward questions among her loyal regular viewers such as the twitchy Tinker (Patch Darragh) and the generous Barney (Michael Dempsey). Alice suspects her rival Princess X ( Samantha Robinson), but fears something stranger is taking place.
The nuanced performance by Madeline Brewer is a solid and the eerie sci-fi concept is a winner.
REVIEWED ON 11/21/2018 GRADE: B