Have I mentioned that I love my fair share of dark humor? Sure, as long as you’re not malicious with it, it can be difficult to offend me but that’s why I went into “I Blame Society” as skeptical as ever. I didn’t catch the trailer or any ads; all I know is it follows a struggling female director who blurs the line between art and real life when she realizes she’s pretty good at getting away with murder.
This was a wheels within wheels situation, guys. I had to go back and watch this movie again so I could attempt to piece together enough of this maze-like puzzle to see if I understood it enough and…..let’s just say I over-exaggerated myself on how I was originally feeling.
But now I can see clearly through Gillian Wallace Horvat’s lens within a lens within a hypothetical lens.
The movie starts off a bit shaky, revealing that its a low budget affair and it becomes a little dull after a while but once the movie progresses and becomes more interesting, the homemade style from the DIY camerawork plays in its favor. For a ‘low budget indie with lots of integrity’, the makeshift aesthetic of time-coded video, FaceTime calls, and the handheld camera is cleverly played against itself; somehow making the framework feel organic yet professional at the same time.
All of its editing is premeditated to a fault and production design actually reflects the deteriorating state of our character incomparably as well as the drastic shift in tone. From starting off light-hearted and self-involved to tumbling down a bleak and uncomfortable rabbit hole, the dramatic shift in atmosphere, it’s rather tasteless gags and uneven pacing, it’s all justified. It’s supposed to make you feel uncomfortable from frame one and it never betrays the structure of its own design while poking fun at itself and can I just say Gillian Wallace Horvat is so good at being bad? Not just in selling the callous methodical planning of her intentionally unlikable character but her awkward comedic timing in puncturing her meta-textuality as well.
But that’s just her as the actress. How about how well she did as the director and writer? From potshots at Hollywood to corrosive creativity to true crime obsessions to bad pitch meetings to sexism, Horvat’s vision is one of passive aggression, taking aim at so many personal topics with delayed while crafting an effective portrait of all of them through the eyes of a narcissist.
We have a character who’s entitlement, delusions of grandeur and inability to accept criticism outstrips her skills and is a vast representation of the kind of bullshit women filmmakers have to endure within a male-dominated industry; it actually capitalized on a gender political front that so many films today only flirt with only to ACTUALLY GO THROUGH with it by the end. On top of that, I actually appreciate how on the nose they are with the message at hand because this films lack of subtlety & overall tendency for going "way too far" in order to prove a point is — well — I think that’s LITERALLY THE POINT OF THE MAIN THEME IN THIS STORY. How ironic that a point that overlooked and glossed over is only made apparent now by something this imperfect.
Similar to Malcolm and Marie, I’m convinced the film went out of its way to criticize itself and thus do my work for me but just like Spontaneous, it’s way-too-out-there satirical black comedy billings picks apart the familiar ‘Antisocial killers that murder on camera’ trope and gives it a purpose amongst real-life situations that are guaranteed to annoy many and inspire few.
As a comedy, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s funny unless you count it as cringe humor but as an unapologetic mockumentary slasher twists the knife in its execution in the ideas it roots…..god, it’s brutal.