With the saturation of social networking people are able to update everything they are doing, everything they are, revealing even the most intimate details of their lives, at a moment’s notice. Add to this the fact that most computers and phones have photo and video capabilities so the boundaries we had lived with for so long have no fallen away and we can now enlighten and embarrass in equal measures. Strangers Online is an examination of this world, of sorts, though I am afraid any higher moral ideals are lost in the sleaze.
Strangers Online is the story of a popular internet DJ with a risqué show that has become a hit because of the taboos it embraces. His show features people calling in to vent, reveal, reach out, or just put a show on. The show skirts the edges of legality but it is this dangerous element that has gained the show its audience. What the viewers don’t know though is that the host hides a dark secret that still haunts him – his ex fiancée was brutally murdered and that murder remains unsolved, and serves as a constant nightmare for him. When the DJ falls prey to the sexual advances of an intern he opens a doorway that leads not only to a dark future but to a dangerous past and he may well become the next hot topic on his own show.
I feel like I mailed it on that description but this is a hard movie to describe. It’s sort of like Basic Instinct meets Fatal Attraction meets Chat Roulette. It’s weird. And not good weird. There is far too much sleaze and too little sense. There are interesting ideas here, such as the notion of an online talk show that skirts the edges of what is appropriate, but any higher ideas are lost in the random sex scenes and titillation. Sigh. It’s frustrating. The film is not made poorly, the acting is decent, the production values, outside of the awful digital background work, is good, but man, that story is bad. What begins as an examination of how our evolution as a society is leading us down a dangerous path but the filmmaker is too interested in the seedier sides of the story and that’s where things fail.
Not too bloody, not that sexy, and horribly written this is a potboiler best left for the lower shelves at the video store or as a late night streamer online, otherwise, steer clear.
4 out of 10