I Blame Society
Our serial-killer obsession meets Hollywood satire in I Blame Society, an inventive new comedy flick. Gillian Horvat has a good sense of cinema history, as a producer on dozens of Hollywood story documentaries including A Fuller Life (2013). With her debut-fiction movie, I Blame Society, Horvat combines her love of cinema with sly millennial humour to take down the brutality of cut-throat Hollywood.
Like Peeping Tom and Body Double, this LA-set mockumentary explores the link between cinephilia and serial killers. Horvat plays Gillian, a struggling filmmaker with an uncanny knack for spotting how a movie murderer might take out her friends. After she fails to sell a TV show – I, Murderer – based on this premise, she begins to knock her enemies off for real.
This fairly rote premise is pulled off by a screen-life format. The viewer sees what characters within the story are recording themselves, often on phones and dashcams. This is a growing trend, with last year’s entertaining Spree somewhat of a breakthrough moment for the genre. Keith Paulson plays Gillian’s boyfriend with the convincing hipster sneer that he’s pulled in recent titles We Are and PVT Chat. There’s a whole group of guys who think they’re making special films and Paulson always seems to signal they are near. But it’s not all bad. Part of the formal mixing of fact and sitcom means that when the central character gets advice for her project, it’s for real. Hannibal writer Nick Antosca appears to tell her that Google is more realistic than TV and the protagonist’s own mother shows up to say that Gillian does indeed make a convincing killer.
I Blame Society isn’t particularly funny – few of its punchlines hit hard and the lead’s situation wraps itself up in obvious knots. But the work’s self-aware walk through of the steps of a serial killer (as seen in movies) is entertaining and it’s hard not to be charmed by its willingness to employ screen-life technology as a device that reflects our surveillance-obsessed, tech-consumed world. The characters are trapped by their inability to move beyond tropes and expectations, which presents an intriguing horror of modern cinema, even if Horvat herself becomes a victim.
I Blame Society is released digitally on demand on 19th April 2021.
Watch the trailer for I Blame Society here: