EIFF 2013 – uwantme2killhim? Review

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Viewers may initially be taken aback when seeing the credits of upcoming British feature uwantme2killhim? What appears as a low-key thriller actually has some big Hollywood names behind it – including Bryan Singer and Bob and Harvey Weinstein. This should serve an indicator as to the promise that Andrew Douglas’ (2005’s The Amityville Horror) feature shows.

Based on a true story, the film details teenager Mark’s (Jamie Blackley) growing obsession with the world of internet chatrooms and the dark, tragic consequences this ultimately builds up to.

The early stages of the film feature Mark on a chat-room speaking to cyber-girlfriend Rachel (Jaime Winston) who asks the teenager to look out for her “weird” brother John (Toby Regbo) who is bullied at school. Mike Walden’s narrative may seem somewhat predictable from this description, and ultimately it is not difficult for viewers to work out which direction uwantme2killhim? is heading in. Yet despite this, Walden’s screenplay is packed full of turns and erratic twists which makes getting to this outcome all the more fascinating and tragic.

uwantme2killhim? showcases the danger of chatrooms whilst also capturing the psychology of a sixteen year old, with the combination of the two resulting in shocking effects. We view the events from the perspective of teenage Jamie and see him be gradually manipulated on these chatrooms – making him all the more of a tragic hero.  However, as the narrative takes continuous twists at points uwantme2killhim? grows somewhat outlandish – best captured when Jamie begins conversations with Janet, ‘a government agent.’ I personally do not know of any sixteen year olds who would be so easily duped into thinking they were chatting to an MI6 agent on a web chat-room. However, there is ultimately some truth in this – with Douglas’ feature being based on a true story, making the feature seem even more extraordinary.

Douglas crafts the feature with a sense of unease and suspense by reflecting Jamie’s chatroom world with a variety of actors playing those he chats with  – from Liz White’s Agent Janet to Jaime Winstone’s troubled Rachel. We see all through Jamie’s perspective with this style perfectly reflecting the somewhat vulnerable psychological mindset of teenagers – especially when manipulated in an online environment. This makes uwantme2killhim? feel like more than simply a British thriller but a tragic study into the teenage psyche and the dangers of the online world.

Jamie Blackley (who also impressed in EIFF’s We Are the Freaks) is an outstanding lead, bringing a youthful innocence and likeability to the role of Jamie. The role – alongside Toby Regbo’s brilliantly dark performance as John, won the festival’s Best Performance in a British Feature Film award.

uwantme2killhim? is a darkly unnerving look at the online world and the dangers that come with it. It may be clear which trajectory the narrative is following, yet this ultimately works in the film’s favour adding a sense of tragedy to this thriller.

★★★1/2 ☆

Andrew McArthur

Release Date: 25th June 2013 (EIFF) September 2013(UK Cinema)
Stars: Jamie Blackley, Toby Regbo & Jaime Winstone
Director: Andrew Douglas