Hey gang, Valkor here. So last year I had my eye on a film – Unfriended; it’s essentially a revenge/horror where friends get picked off during a skype conference. I haven’t seen it… yet, but I’ve read some reviews and it hasn’t been well received. Now this next film isn’t exactly the same as Unfriended, but they’re connected in that it’s a film that has captured my interest. Only with ‘I-Lived”, I actually get to settle down and watch how this one plays out. And I have to say I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Spoilers! I warned ya!
I-Lived centers on Josh aka J-Tech (Jeremiah Watkins), a PewDiePie-esque, wannabe slacker, who spends his days making online video reviews of mobile app software. His life in general isn’t doing so hot either – his girlfriend left him, his landlady his breathing down his neck for his overdue rent, his electricity goes out and his mom isn’t doing so well healthwise (we don’t learn about that until later in the film). The film starts with Josh reviewing an app called “I-Lived”, which is something of a self help app meant to improve your life. When he first tries it out, to get six pack abs, it doesn’t go so well and he merely brushes off the app as a failure. Until one night, while out with his buddy Bobby (Chris Mena), the app kicks in and nudges him to approach a woman named Greta (Sarah Power). Things start off a bit rocky, but ultimately he gets the girl and he’s gained a new found respect for the app.
After a successful night out, Josh decides to give the app a real try by following its instructions towards achieving his goals. And he gets them too - a hot girlfriend, a great new job that would build on his video app reviews, increased viewership on his video page and even his mom starts to get better. But the downside to all of this is that he begins having these strange dreams and that overrules everything the app has brought into his life, so he decides to cancel his membership.
And then things take a turn for the worse – girlfriend? Gone! New Job? Gone! Mom’s health? Back to being terminal! He even gets an eviction notice from his landlady. It all comes crashing down and Josh realizes that all this bad luck is related to the app. So what does he do? He signs up again! Only this time, rather than giving him positives instructions to improve his life, the app gives him some frightening and even deadly instructions. The question is, will Josh follow through with the apps twisted demands in order to achieve his dreams and putting his life back on track? Or is there something even more sinister afoot that could change Josh’s life in ways that he’ll truly regret? Also, who is that mysterious man in black?
I-Lived has something of a religious spin to it, similar to 5 Souls; it's not preachy, but you get the message of how the devil have his hands in everything. Hell, even the title “I-Lived” is “Devil-I” (eye) backwards. But should that deter you from watching this flick?
On the contrary, I-Lived turned out to be better than I had expected. I was a little put off by Josh’s “PewDiePie” nature in the beginning – hell he even sorta looks like the guy. But the story was what intrigued me the most and it’s definitely a solid take on tales that provide the message “be careful what you wish for”. Or think of it like this – if you were to attach the “Twilight Zone” name as a header, it would fit in perfectly. It has a disturbingly, creepy vibe that would be suitable for the classic series. And seeing Josh's wild, rollercoaster of a mental journey where he starts out as a kindhearted goofball, into something mentally unstable, certainly plays on that idea, which isn’t a bad thing. Not at all! The story does a great job of holding your attention and the acting, while none the greatest, still ensures that you’ll remain in your seat until the end. I was definitely surprised by I-Lived as I assumed it would be a terrible ride, but I’m glad it turned to be something entertaining.
First up, I-Live is touted as a horror, but the film is anything but – there are no scares, not even jump scares, nothing that’ll make you wet yourself from fright. Sure it has a creepy vibe to it, but that’s about it. Next, the film is quite predictable, especially when you fully realize what’s going on. Then it begins to lose its intensity. With the ending, I was kind of hoping it would go one way, but I wasn’t "shocked" how it ultimately turned out. Finally, I'd like to nitpick a bit; so in the beginning, as Josh is doing one of his reviews, the power goes out. Turns out he hasn’t been paying his electric bills. But later on, with all the lights still out, he opens his fridge and that light inside turns on! Not only that, but the next day he’s back to making videos in his home. When and how did he pay his bill? Wouldn’t it have been easier to just show some past due envelopes to show that Josh is broke?
There is one gruesome scene in the film, but I’ll let you guys watch it and see for yourself.
I-Lived is available now on the digital front, with a DVD release on August 11th (according to Amazon). And it’s a smart concept that’s executed fairly well. Would I recommend checking it out? Definitely! It’s not “editor’s choice” good, but still worth seeing. And out of TOV 5 stars, I’m gonna meet I-Lived halfway and give it a 2.5.