Movies are always having to adapt to changing technology in various ways, sometimes with mixed results. Cell phones, for instance, are ever-present but at least easy to neutralize through dead batteries or the fact that there’s just no reception in these extremely isolated camping sites. Some movies take a slightly different tactic, however, and make the technology at least as much the enemy as any slasher, as in Let’s Chat!, where any online conversation can suddenly turn dangerous — and I don’t mean just a slightly racy game of truth or dare, though that happens, too.
It all starts innocently enough, when Luke (Jaimy Homberg) virtually gathers his friends together to invite them all to a Katy Perry concert. Luke’s boyfriend Jesse (James Burleson) doesn’t get what all the fuss is about, and I’m with him, but Elle (Amber Romero) and Nico (JohnPeter Johnson) are terribly excited. Sidney (Billionna Olivia Reyes), however, is stuck babysitting her little brother and is desolate about not being able to go.
But the chat has been acting twitchy, even by Skype standards, which I hear are pretty low these days. As the other friends sign off, someone else muscles into Luke and Jesse’s chat, and that someone claims to be the notorious — and recently escaped — serial killer Peter Loft (Johnnie Brannon), whose favorite targets are teenagers. He says he just wants to liven up the conversation, but considering what his idea of fun is like, this is one Skype call Luke will wish he’d never made.
It’s rather like a low-budget reboot of Unfriended, and though I wasn’t thrilled with the execution of the latter, it was certainly an interesting idea, so there are worse movies out there to emulate. At least this version has likable characters, which is more than I can say for the original. This is also more technical than supernatural, which is a better approach in my opinion, even if some of the techy stuff here goes a little over the top.
It feels too rushed, and the level of acting talent varies, but overall it’s a fun watch with an interesting twist at the end, even if that twist does seem particularly out of left field. But it’s a solid take on a good idea that everyone seems to have had a lot of fun with, and I’m looking forward to seeing more from Homberg.