Review: CATFISH (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Review: CATFISH (2010)


One word: PATHETIC. That is pretty much sum up for this much-hyped "documentary" cryptically titled as CATFISH. You have to applaud the way how Universal studio has manipulated (most) of the viewers with their effective, yet highly-deceptive trailer and marketing promotion that is simply too hard to resist. "A shattering conclusion". "The best Hitchcock film Hitchcock never directed". Some of these intriguing taglines has no doubt make this "documentary" all the more frightening experience to look out for. Unfortunately, CATFISH is hardly the would-be phenomenon that (most) people expecting to be the next THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999). First thing is, CATFISH is a fake documentary and worst of all, it's not a thriller as the trailer lead us to believe. Instead, it's more of a cautionary drama about the dark side of social networking site.

The story centers on three aspiring filmmakers (Angela Wesselman-Pierce, Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost) who shoot day-to-day life of their fellow friend, a New York photographer named Nev Schulman who is having a virtual relationship via Facebook with a talented eight-year-old Michigan-based artist named Abby. Their friendship is soon blossoms, and Nev is subsequently befriends with the rest of Abby's family via online which includes her mom Angela and Abby's hot-looking stepsister, Megan. Nev is particularly impressed with this highly-talented family. Aside from Abby's painting, Angela and Megan are also musicians. Nev has become fond of Megan, and begins to flirt with her on Facebook before eventually spoken to her on the phone. After several months of flirting and getting to know with the rest of Megan's friends and family members through Facebook community, the filmmaking trio plans a business trip to Colorado where Nev will have his golden opportunity to meet Megan in person for the first time ever. However, things doesn't seem right when Nev suspects that Megan and Angela may not have written or performed some of the songs they've uploaded onto Facebook. So Nev and his filmmaking buddies decide to drop in on Abby's family unannounced where they subsequently discover something beyond their expectation.

On paper, CATFISH is certainly sounds intriguing and it's no surprise that viewers will more or less expecting some kind of shocking discoveries of what lies beneath the truth about Abby and her family. As a matter of fact, there are some fairly tense moments in CATFISH, particularly in the now-infamous scene where they explore Megan's property in the middle of the night. But once they visit Abby's house the next day, all the buildup quickly downfall into a huge cop-out. As mentioned earlier, this is not a thriller of any kind and there is no serial killer or something like it. Not surprisingly, by the time the truth is revealed as well as the meaning behind the cryptic title itself, none has actually justified everything that comes before. Even taken as a cautionary drama or disturbing romance drama of sorts, CATFISH remains as pathetic as it goes. It's especially questionable and unbelievable of these three smart and tech-savvy New York hipsters could have been so easily manipulated by this sort of Facebook relationship scam.

Make no mistake, CATFISH has actually some interesting ideas within the context of their subject material but too bad directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman are certainly too naive the way they tell their story here. For all the heavily-misguided hype surrounded here, they surely made a total fool out of us.

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