CLICKBAIT (2018) – Boston Underground Film Festival
Fame in the internet age. The driving need to be the next big streaming video star, and just how fleeting that fame is. It’s been the subject of all manner of films, from rom-coms to found footage horror to drama. In Clickbait directors Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein (Blood Of The Triblades, Ten) working from a script by Epstein and Jeremy Long turn a satirical eye on this fame at any price mentality.
Bailey (Colby Stewart) is a “content creator” on the social media site STR33KER. Just as she’s about to claim a record seventh week at number one she’s dethroned by her rival Laura (Jannica Olin) who is riding a massive wave of sympathy due to her terminal cancer. This proves to be a huge hit to her ego and her popularity.
However, Bailey’s return to the top may be at hand. She’s acquired a black glove and Trump mask wearing stalker who keeps posting to her page. Posting videos shot in her apartment. And since this is getting her hits she’s not too worried. But with only long-suffering roommate Emma (Brandi Aguilar) and the incompetent Detective Dobson (Seth Chatfield) to protect her, maybe she should worry.
Clickbait is far from a straightforward film. The main story is interrupted by fake commercials, mostly for “Toot Strudels” which are basically self-cooking, atomic Pop Tarts. And also by variations on a recurring nightmare, the two girls share.
I’m not sure if this is a flaw or a feature, but Clickbait frequently feels as shallow and vapid as the people it’s spoofing. Lots of flashy camera work, “edgy” moments such as a commercial featuring Bailey’s stalker, etc.
But there’s not much emotional depth to any of it, even what should be an intense finale is turned into a music video. But, in a film about “content creators” and “influencers”, maybe that’s the point, image, and popularity are everything and sincerity has become extinct.
Clickbait made its Massachusetts premiere at this year’s Boston Underground Film Festival and will be released by ITN Releasing later this year. You can check for the release date on the film’s Facebook page.