Lexi opens with the standard card telling us where the footage we’re about to see came from followed by a montage of views from security cameras. Then a desperate looking woman appears followed by the film’s title card, there are no credits. It’s an effective and attention grabbing opening.
More of a mockumentary than a found footage film, although it does incorporate plenty of it, Lexi is an investigation into the strange events surrounding the disappearance of social media influencer “Laughing Lexi” aka Alexandria Mancini (Victoria Vertuga, Welcome to Horror, The Trap).
Starting with her friend Mel (Felisha Michelle Cacho, Treason) filing a missing persons report, director Victoria Vertuga and co-writer Eric Williford (Bikini Mayhem, The 8th Plague) examine the last six months of her life looking for clues to what might have happened. We get a mix of footage from Lexi’s YouTube channel along with reactions from fans and non-fans alike.
We also get interviews with friends, Nate (Thomas Hobson, Ghosts of the Ozarks, 12 Hour Shift) author of “Lexi’s Last Laugh”, Camille (Maya Zapata, Demon Inside, The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards) a rival influencer and Elera (Susan Louise O’Connor, American Violence, Runt) an author who thinks the supernatural was involved.
Lexi manages to get the feel of the influencer scene right which gives it a solid foundation to build its mystery on. Lexi is the generically pretty, chirpy, upbeat woman we see all over YouTube, Instagram etc. dispensing positive affirmations and bland life hacks. The comments from the fans and haters are also fairly on target, both in terms of the fawning praise from sycophants and the “She’s disappeared and the world is a better place for it” comments from trolls.
Once things start happening we get a spectrum of possible explanations ranging from someone hacking her webcam and various internet connected devices to her doing it herself to get more viewers to the spirits of her house’s former occupants who met suspicious ends. Some of the footage is effective such as her Roomba developing a life of its own as she sleeps, others such as her simply sleeping look like something an obsessed fan might record.
And it’s this uncertainty that makes much of Lexi work. Is she having a breakdown? Pulling a scam to build her numbers? A human stalker, or something much worse? The film tips the scales one way, such as with footage of odd occurrences in the house, like doors closing by themselves. Then in another when old fetish videos she made are suddenly resurrected and posted. Surely a ghost isn’t capable of revenge porn?
The film strongly benefits from some great performances. Vertuga convincingly portrays Lexi and the effects the ordeal has on her. Most of the film consists of footage of her and she handles the weight of the film well. She puts it all up there on the screen in more ways than one to bring her role to life. Zapata is effectively bitchy as the trash talking Camille, by the end of the film you’ll really want to punch her.
Even some of the extras are surprisingly good, like the guy who rants about Lexi being a “thirst trap who would do anything for attention.” he was so in character you can easily imagine he’s mad he got blocked for sending Lexi a dick pic.
Incorporated into this is a critique of the more toxic side of social media and internet culture. The obsession so many people, not just professional influencers, have with fame, likes and finding validation in people’s responses. And those who get their kicks by being assholes just for the sake of it. It’s not an overpowering message, but it’s there.
Like most films of its kind, Lexi ends leaving the viewer with a lot more questions than answers. It’s a disconcertingly open ending that evokes cases like that of Elisa Lam. It’s a quiet slow burning film with nothing in the way of gore or violence. But there’s more than enough atmosphere to make up for it.
Lexi is currently available to stream on Vimeo on Demand. You can check for updates on the film’s website.