File Under – No, this isn’t for real life. This is a movie. There ya go.
OK, confession, this is not a movie about kitties. I know that may be a disappointment but, well, I feel like I need to be honest, here. I mean, there’s like, a cat in the movie, but this isn’t a movie about cats.
I am sorry.
What we DO have here is one of the ‘This is footage from a criminal investigation’ sort of films that have bred like rabbits in the past few years. I really didn’t know there were that many of these things out there but clearly there are. With the interest in true crime as big as it is I shouldn’t really be surprised at the proliferation of these types of found footage films but it’s still a surprise that there are SO many. I suppose, if I think about it, it’s because you can present footage with a little set up and not need to follow a traditional story structure with a beginning, middle, and end. There doesn’t need to necessarily be a traditional resolution, just an ending. You also get to pretend it’s all ‘real’ and thus more shocking.
BAD KITTIES is presented as the footage several young women in their late teens shot as they captured their lives. The footage is presented as evidence of crimes committed. We get the banal, the shocking, and the horrifying. The heart of the film are two friends, Taylor and Zoe, who reconnect after Zoe moved away, and we discover that they are mutually bad influences on one another and seem to egg one another on towards more and more outrageous behavior until it culminates in the group finally going too far.
This is an acquired taste.
This is well made enough that the young women in it are terribly annoying and obnoxious as the friends – and this is done in a realistic way – which is maddening. It’s like watching a new generation living out their best KIDS inspired lives – as in the movie KIDS, friend. The acting is really well done and I’d wager is mostly improv as I am not sure how you could have done this otherwise. We see all of the poor behavior, the poor choices, and the broken-ness on display. The camera serves as both audience and confessional, their interest in impressing one another and outdoing one another on full display as they push further adn further past safe boundaries. They are small town kids that are young enough to still get away with most things though adulthood is pressing in on them heavily. Anyone that has been to a mall or to a fair or even a bowling alley in the summer has run into these kids.
This is shaky-cam all day, just in case that is hard for you to watch.
There’s no real narrative or story, we are just going along with these young women as they experience this time together. We are witnesses to their delinquency and that is it.
Saying that, it’s a well made film, with vibrant characters each trying to find their way while also trying to get the attention from their friends that they are so desperate to have. This falls along the lines of a crime/thriller, so horror fans may not have a lot to keep their attention but it’s definitely an interesting film that plays almost like a cultural artifact of a generation lost. I have to admit though that it needed a little better set up for us to feel that this warranted the presumptive attention the footage would have gotten. Maybe I am just jaded.
While I can’t say it’s a film I’d revisit, it does exactly what it means to do, and, outside of an awkwardly acted framing device, does it well.
Not great but sad and chilling just the same.
This is a very trigger-y movie so be warned, lots of drug use, underage drinking, racism, homophobia, and generally upsetting behavior so you go in aware of what you’re getting into.
2.25 out of 5
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