Posted October 29, 2010 by Marcia Degia - Publisher in Films

Catfish DVD Review

It’s as if you can hear the patience of surrounding viewers
escaping them as the opening few seconds of handheld camera footage air
for the Catfish trailer.
Another “true events/non true events” head
scratcher recorded in shaky form begs for a breath of fresh air as so
many like it have fallen by the wayside. The premise here is simple; boy
(Yaniv Schulman, played as self) meets girl on Facebook (for
nothing exists outside Facebook today) after befriending her little
sister and, helpfully documented by his friends, decides to pursue this
digital lust all the way from NY to Michigan. Although all is not what
it seems. And that’s it. That’s all that can be divulged upon without
giving up the whole show. Any developments in character, narrative, the
cause and effect chain of an internet romance would lay bare the
conclusion of this 87 minute journey. Call it genius, call it
frustrating as hell, as is life.

Don’t go in expecting a Blair Witch torrent of horror however or a
queasy .REC lurch; this is a 12A afterall. Instead expect some very well
thought out characters, a little humour and some very tense moments in
the face of the unknown. This is a discussion piece. Not in a “oh my god
did you see the bit when…” type of conversation you’ll have the
morning after watching The Human Centipede or Teeth, more a
“It’s interesting how online communication can lead to deception but
also the unveiling of deception…” type discussion that usually only
rears its head after a few drinks.

As mentioned after Chat Room, these virtual spaces within
which personas are created, amplified and manipulated are bending genres
to a fascinating new level. They say the mobile phone signified the end
of the horror genre, yet Rodrigo Cortes’ Buried could not have
existed without it and was met with a chorus of critical acclaim. Here
the internet, as natural to existence today as air and water is used
primarily as a medium through which a narrative evolves, and so the
exact same principles apply. Sure the guy is reading the content to us
all doe eyed and gushing but we also see pictures, statuses, comments
and instant messaging, leading us down the exact same rabbit hole as
young Nev. Even his quest to meet the girl behind the profile is mapped
out in GPS, signalling an end to the days of little footprints ran
across a green atlas. Catfish turns its back on most forms of conventional filmmaking but to its advantage,
bringing a new edge to the suspense film and yet still incorporating
very real insights of loneliness, suspicion, regret and discomfort.
Through revelation the characters are shown as more than a status for
better or worse and consequently this film gains credibility over being
more than bloated quest for love.

Those expecting pacey shocks and intensity should probably shy away,
this is absolutely not for everyone. For those keen on investigating the
new depths bought to screen by this introduction of internet driven
narratives as well as a few tense moments and some quite disturbing
truths this is your movie. And as for whether these events actually
happened or not? Check your Facebook.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia has worked in the media industry for more than 10 years. She was previously Acting Managing Editor of Homes and Gardens magazine, Publishing Editor at Macmillan Publishers and Editor of Pride Magazine. Marcia, who has a Masters degree in Screenwriting, has also been involved in many broadcast projects. Among other things, she was the devisor of the documentary series Secret Suburbia for Living TV.