It all started when filmmaker Gillian Wallace Horvat was told that she’d make a good murderer. Intrigued by the comment, she began to study the elements and little details that make a successful serial killer. Out of this research was born “I Blame Society,” a deliciously wicked, low-budget indie feature that blurs the line between documentary and reality. This hybrid of a movie is packed with dark humor and horror components that lend a very strange tone, but there’s a whole lot to appreciate and admire about Horvat’s ambition and creativity.
Gillian (Horvat) is a struggling filmmaker who feels as though her friends (Chase Williamson, Keith Poulson) are losing faith in her abilities. Determined to prove them wrong, she decides to finish her film and documents what constitutes the “perfect” murder. While in the process of filming, Gillian becomes a little too engrossed in the idea of killing. She unleashes a malevolent side of her personality that causes her moral compass to collapse.
The film’s tone shifts as our antihero begins to lose control. What started as a documentary evolves into something a bit more cinematic, with a fictional story line that feels real because it was set up that way. Gillian first targets people whom she feels “deserve it,” but she eventually goes on a random, bloody killing spree that’s disturbing on multiple levels. It’s just so easy to get away with murder.
You have to admire Horvat’s determination to make a movie that doesn’t compromise her unique voice, and she directs, co-writes, and stars in the film that she wanted to assemble. In one scene, Gillian stands up for her right to make a film of her own and not resign herself to getting stuck in line, waiting for a man’s permission. It’s empowering to see a woman who chooses to fully explore her own voice rather than meet the boxed-in expectations of the suits in charge (as embodied by Producer 1 and Producer 2, two Hollywood types who hit every single buzzword related to diversity and “strong female leads”).
The film does hit on a few Hollywood insider jokes and jabs, but not in an inaccessible sort of way. I do feel “I Blame Society” is geared towards a very specific audience, but fans of the macabre will be partial to this inventive, disturbing movie.