Chatroom (2010)

Drama, Thriller
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Imogen Poots, Matthew Beard, Hannah Murray
A group of teenagers encourage each other's bad behavior in a chatroom 'Chelsea Teens!'.
  • 11 Aug 2010 Released:
  • 14 Jun 2011 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:

All subtitles:

Trailer:

Interesting movie shows teen loneliness and the dangers of internet manipulation7/10
It's a rather odd movie, this Chatroom. Most of the story (not all) takes part in cyberspace, which is visualized in an interesting way. The chatroom is not shown through a computer screen with typed text, but as a real room where our characters meet. This gives this movie quite a strange feel, theatrical at points, but it is quite effective.

Will is the guy behind the chatroom. It all starts out fairly innocent but slowly we get drawn into his real intentions. The people who come in his chatroom all have their own issues. They are lonely in real life, traumatized or misunderstood, and in the chatroom they find people who they can tell their stories to. At first this seems to have a healing effect, but slowly we see that all is not what it seems to be.

What this movie shows, IMO, is the loneliness many people face, and also the dangers of using internet for our main communication. Like Will's mum tells him at one point; 'You can not help yourself if you are only talking to strangers. You need to communicate with us.' The plot is not too difficult to figure out and quite predictable, but it's worked out reasonably well and for me, the movie just got under my skin. There is no winner in this movie. I would not name this to be a thriller, but more a psychological drama. The feeling I am most left with is sadness.

Though this movie doesn't come close to the strength Hideo Nakata's 'Ringu' or 'Dark Water' have, and has a whole different feel to it, I do consider it worth watching.
A Novel Idea But Doesn't Deliver5/10
The concept of Chatroom is a really good idea: five teenagers join an online chatroom and the film portrays their conversations as if they are happening in the real world, in a physical room. I can see, with quite a bit of rewriting, this working as a very engaging stage adaption. However, this film doesn't deliver on the goods. If I could make some decisions here I would have kept the entire film surrealistic, keeping every scene in the virtual world instead of flashing back and forth from the online fantasy into the real world where the kids are typing into their laptops or phones. That would have taken quite a bit of more talent to write, however, as we'd have to stay engaged with a conversation in a My Dinner With Andre sort of way. Also, two of the characters are extremely neglected and their subplots are never carried through to fruition. I also have a hard time believing, even in the virtual world of the internet, that the villain here could actually manipulate everyone so easily without anyone really objecting. It would have been in that objection, in the passion of that debate, that this movie could have found its true energy. But unfortunately it relies too heavily on every parent's paranoid nightmare of the internet leading to suicide or a sexual predator. There are some novel ideas here but unfortunately this film does not realize the potential of those ideas.
A well decorated, but hollow shell.3/10
Horrible teens somehow get sucked in to doing horrible things by a floppy haired sulky cliche of the spoilt upper crust.

Past the original idea of portraying internet chat rooms as a physical space this movie has nothing new to offer. Every character is so one dimensional it's a joke. You have sulky emo kid angry at the world. The conservative political girl, the shy geek and the posh totty who hates being posh. This plays out more like a poorly written teen novel than a movie. I thought the manipulation of the other teens by the angry Emo was far too simple. Within one conversation he has the conservative character smearing feces all over her parents car.

I found it hard to relate to any of the characters because they had no depth. None of them felt real to me. I just hated them all. The only reason I kept watching was in the hope I'd see them all get their comeuppance.

The film is very nice to look at with some quite clever visual ideas for some of the chat rooms. Also the stop motion sections were quite a nice break from the whiny teens.

In the end all this movie really ended up being was a very heavy handed message of 'be careful who you talk to on the internet'. I just wanted to be entertained and not spoken to like a child.
Incredible depiction of the internet9/10
One of the best aspects of this movie (which is NOT, as it has been marketed, a horror movie) is the depiction of the internet into a physical space. It is really, really well done, and anyone (even slightly) familiar with the world of chatrooms will be blown away by the realism.

The movie goes back and forth between "real life" (the outside world) and internet life (the conversations and chats of the protagonists, here represented into a physical reality, so as not to spend an hour and 46 minutes filming youth typing on a keyboard).

It is not a horror movie, but rather a good psychological thriller, with the story of a disturbed teen who tries to alleviate his own misery by making others miserable. It is also a good look into the seedier, sleazier parts of the internet, where anything can happen, and where violence (although entirely psychological) can be very, very real.
Stagey but clever, thought provoking cyberworld teenage drama thriller7/10
Saw this at a London hotel preview screening today.

Top marks for effort in trying to translate internet chat rooms onto the screen. It did take me quite a while to adjust to the visual interpretations of online cyberworld chatting but having said that, it was very cleverly done if a bit stagy. This is not a horror film. Despite the surrealistic online interpretation, this was first and foremost a dark teenage drama that quite effectively highlights the dangerous mental traps that socially withdrawn youngsters can face online in real life. Maybe parents of teenagers who spends all their time on the internet, may well find this to be a horror film and start taking away their kids computers, then push a football into their hands.

Of course this being cinema, liberties need to be taken with plausibility to turn this intriguing drama into a dark thriller. But it works. Its just that it took a heck of a long time to really get going with the main plot. The dialogue also felt very sluggish. The young actors however, were very good and did well to emote their feelings convincingly.

I was very bewildered at the inclusion of a couple of stop motion animated cartoons which I get the impression were supposed to be darkly funny but I did not find it in the least bit amusing. Maybe that was the idea but it served no purpose in the flow of the movie for me. Also, this being a British Film Four production, it feels so, and you wont find any money spent on special effects apart from a change of wallpaper in the chat rooms.

Overall though, this is a very good thought provoking film with decent performances from the young cast. It is an effective thriller but very sluggish until it really picks up momentum in the 3rd act.