Hashtag Horror

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#Horror
Horror Tara Subkoff Movie Poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTara Subkoff
Produced by
Written by
Starring
Music byEMA
CinematographyLearan Kahanov
Edited byJanice Hampton & Catrin Hedstrom
Production
company
  • Lowland Pictures
  • AST Studios
Distributed byIFC Midnight
Release date
  • November 18, 2015 (2015-11-18) (Museum of Modern Art)
  • November 20, 2015 (2015-11-20) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

#Horror (pronounced "hashtag horror")[1] is a 2015 American horror film written and directed by Tara Subkoff, and starring Chloë Sevigny, Timothy Hutton, Natasha Lyonne, Taryn Manning, and Balthazar Getty. The plot follows a group of wealthy 7th grade girls who face a night of terror together after a social network game spirals out of control.

The film premiered on November 18, 2015 at the Museum of Modern Art,[2] and was released in a limited release and through video on demand on November 20, 2015, by IFC Midnight.[3]

Plot[edit]

The film opens with Harry Cox (Balthazar Getty) having sex in a car with his mistress, Lisa (Lydia Hearst). After Lisa exits the car, his wife Alex (Chloë Sevigny) calls him and chastises him on the phone. After he hangs up, his throat is slashed, and Lisa is also murdered.

Twelve-year-old Sam is invited to a sleepover at classmate Sofia Cox's mansion in Connecticut. Sam finds herself embarrassed by her lack of wealth amongst her rich and privileged classmates. Also at the sleepover are Francesca, Ava, and Georgie. Another girl, Cat White, is being driven to the house by her father, Dr. White (Timothy Hutton); it is established that Cat is suffering psychological problems and has been in trouble for bullying the girls.

The girls engage in a pretend fashion show, incessantly posting photos of themselves on social media with their smart phones. Cat arrives, and Alex allows the girls into her walk-in safe where numerous pieces of jewelry and clothing are stored. She then leaves to go into town for a twelve-step meeting.

As the night goes on, the girls, each consumed by their cell phones, begin to fight with one another. Cat instigates a confrontation and taunts Georgie about her weight, and Sofia forces her to leave. Cat storms into the woods, where she attempts to call her father to pick her up. She begins tagging Georgie in a stream of cruel photos on Facebook; the girls collectively decide to lock their cell phones in the safe to avoid Cat's cyberbullying, and Sofia throws the keys to the safe in the house's swimming pool.

After Dr. White receives a frantic voicemail from Cat, he returns to the house and interrogates the girls about his daughter's whereabouts. He tells the girls he is going to press charges. Sam goes to search for Cat in the woods, and finds Sofia's father's car parked, with blood across the windshield. She returns to the house panicked, but the girls don't believe her.

Georgie and Francesca begin to taunt Sofia about her mother's alleged affair with Dr. White, and she leaves. In the woods, Sofia also stumbles upon her father's car, and finds his corpse inside. She calls her mother; Alex answers, believing it to be her husband, and angrily yells into the phone about his cheating and hangs up. Sofia takes a revolver from the car and flees. At the house, Sam stumbles upon Ava's dead body, and is attacked by a masked assailant. She goes to retrieve the safe key from the pool to get the girls' cell phones back.

Georgie has her throat slashed; Francesca is also stabbed to death. Both of their deaths are streamed on the internet, and photos of their bodies posted online. Sam retrieves the key and opens the safe, but is attacked again, and locks herself inside. On her phone, she finds photos and video of her friends' murders posted on a social media game by Cat. Dr. White returns to the house, and finds Georgie's body. Sam tells him that Cat has killed Ava and Georgie; Cat emerges and unmasks herself. Believing that Dr. White murdered her father, Sofia shoots him to death. Witnessing this, Cat flees; Sofia then learns that Cat is the murderer.

Sam leaves the house to get help. She encounters Cat on the road, wearing the mask. Alex arrives and witnesses Cat shoot herself in the mouth, killing herself. The film ends with a montage of photos of the murders, followed by a video uploaded by Cat, in which she professes her revenge against the girls, and says that she will "be remembered forever."

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Conception[edit]

In February 2014, it was announced that Tara Subkoff had written and was going to direct a film starring Chloë Sevigny, Timothy Hutton, Balthazar Getty, Natasha Lyonne, Taryn Manning, Stella Schnabel, Lydia Hearst, and Annabelle Dexter-Jones. Screenwriter Casey Barnhart was brought in to do an uncredited rewrite before production.[4]

In a later interview with Elle, Subkoff stated that she was inspired to write the film after a discussion she'd had with one of her friends' daughters, who had been cyberbullied.[1] "[The idea] started because I asked my friend's daughter, "What is horror, to you?" This girl was cyberbullied very badly... Now, I was bullied badly as a kid, but I could always change schools. I could always go home. Now you can't...when bullying follows you home, and there's no escape and no end, to me, that's horror. And to so many girls, that's just life."[1]

Filming[edit]

The film was shot in upstate New York and Connecticut over a period of eighteen days during the winter of 2015.[5] Subkoff described the shoot as "difficult" due to the harsh weather conditions at the time.[5] Prior to shooting, Subkoff spent several weeks doing acting workshops and improvisation exercises with the young cast members in order to prepare the girls for their roles.[5] The house used in the film is located in Bedford, New York.[6]

Post-production[edit]

Subkoff spent nearly seven months editing the film with her editors Janice Hampton and Catrin Hedstrom.[7] The animated sequences in the film were designed by artist Tabor Robak.[7]

Soundtrack[edit]

#Horror: Original Score by EMA
Horror Soundtrack Cover.jpg
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedDecember 11, 2015
Length37:19
LabelMatador Records

The soundtrack for the film, titled #Horror: Original Score by EMA, featuring the original score by EMA was released via digital download on December 11, 2015, by Matador Records.[8] On November 20, 2015, prior to the release of the soundtrack, "Amnesia Haze" a song from the soundtrack was released online.[9] A music video for the song was later released.[10]

EMA composed the score of the film, EMA stated: "Film work and scoring is fun for me because I get to make all this music that wouldn’t necessarily fit on an EMA record. We worked really closely with Tara Subkoff on the music. She definitely always had an opinion on what she liked and what she didn’t. It was my first score, so I’m not sure if all composers end up spending weeks in a room with the director, but that’s how we did it."[11]

Track listing
No.TitleLength
1."Hashtag Horror Theme"0:55
2."Visions of Blood"0:59
3."Amnesia Haze"3:37
4."Surrender, Michael"2:46
5."Whispers"0:14
6."Harshmellow World"1:41
7."Locust Strings"0:26
8."Danger Theme"1:06
9."Cat in the Woods"1:59
10."Running Danger"3:18
11."Dr. White In The Woods"2:24
12."Dr. White In The House"5:19
13."Foreshadowing Pain"1:51
14."The Girls Were Really Mean"0:50
15."Soul Cycle"1:40
16."Horror #2"1:02
17."Spooky Figures"0:17
18."#Exit Music"3:41
19."Amnesia Haze (Vox & Guitar Only)"3:14
Total length:37:19
  • "Amnesia Haze" (Vox & Guitar Only) is a bonus track.[12]

Marketing[edit]

On May 15, 2015, images from the film were released.[13] in October 2015, Entertainment Weekly premiered the first trailer for the film.[14] in November 2015, Vanity Fair released an exclusive trailer for the film only on their website.[15] That same month ShockTillYouDrop.com premiered a clip from the film on their website.[16]

Release[edit]

The film was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival Cannes Market section for buyers and distributors in May 2015,[17] with director Subkoff staging an anti-bullying protest outside the event.[18]

On July 31, 2015, it was announced that IFC Midnight had acquired distribution rights to the film.[19] The film screened at the New York City Horror Film Festival on November 12, 2015,[20] and had its world premiere at the Museum of Modern Art on November 18, 2015, both with director Tara Subkoff in attendance.[2] It was released on November 20, 2015, in a limited release and through video on demand.[21]

Critical response[edit]

#Horror received mixed reviews from critics. It holds a 50% rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 12 reviews.[22] On Metacritic the film holds a rating of 42 out of 100, based on 7 critics indicating "mixed or average reviews."[23] Conversely, audiences gave a much lower rating of 9% on Rotten Tomatoes[24]

Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a negative review, writing: "Infusing its generic horror tropes with vaguely satirical aspects, the film doesn't really work on either level. Unintentionally campy (or purposely, it's hard to tell) and marred by ridiculous plotting and dialogue, #Horror is mostly just a horror."[25] Christine N. Ziemba of Paste Magazine gave the film a mixed review, writing: "It’s a familiar trope—the killer in the woods hunting a bunch of school girls left home alone—and so much less terrifying than kids armed with their phones, social media accounts, and snark and spite. Despite the issues with #Horror’s plot and some of the performances, we’re still interested in seeing what Subkoff takes on next. She’s self-assured behind the camera with an eye for detail, and developing a distinctive, sleek style that’s worth a second chance."[26] Despite mixed and negative reviews, Inkoo Kang of TheWrap.com gave the film a positive review, writing: "And yet, "#Horror" undeniably succeeds in its main mission: parodying and scrutinizing the ease with which we capture, recycle, reframe, and desensitize ourselves to even the most horrific images. That makes Blingee possibly the scariest website out there."[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Krentcil, Faran (May 29, 2015). "EXCLUSIVE: A FIRST LOOK AT TARA SUBKOFF'S MILLENNIAL HORROR FLICK STARRING CHLOË SEVIGNY". Elle. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "#HORROR: The Most Well-Connected, Artsiest Scary Movie of the Year". Vanity Fair. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  3. ^ "#Horror". IFCFilms.com. October 10, 2015. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  4. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (February 14, 2014). "Chloe Sevigny, Timothy Hutton top '#Horror' Noir Thriller". Deadline.com. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Subkoff, Tara (November 12, 2015). Q&A with Tara Subkoff (Speech). New York City Horror Film Festival. The Elektra Theater, New York City, New York.
  6. ^ Saito, Stephen (November 18, 2015). "Interview: Tara Subkoff on the Heights of "#Horror"". Moveable Fest. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Hirschberg, Lynn (November 19, 2015). "The Art of Being Tara Subkoff". WMagazine.com. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  8. ^ "#HORROR ORIGINAL SCORE by EMA". MatadorRecords.com. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  9. ^ Kaye, Ben (November 20, 2015). "EMA shares "Amnesia Haze" from the soundtrack to #Horror — listen". ConsequenceOfSound.net. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  10. ^ Rian (December 11, 2015). "Out Today - EMA's original score for #HORROR, music video for Amnesia Haze". matadorrecords.com. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  11. ^ Kaye, Ben (November 20, 2015). "EMA shares "Amnesia Haze" from the soundtrack to #Horror — listen". CosequenceOfSound.net. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  12. ^ "#Horror Original Score". Amazon.com. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  13. ^ Barton, Steve (2015-05-15). "First Look at Social Media #Horror Flick". Dread Central. Retrieved 2015-10-10.
  14. ^ Collis, Clark (October 8, 2015). "Terror goes viral in exclusive trailer for Chloe Sevigny-starring #Horror". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  15. ^ "#HORROR: The Most Well-Connected, Artsiest Scary Movie of the Year". VanityFair.com. November 6, 2015. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  16. ^ Alexander, Christ (November 13, 2015). "Exclusive Bloody Tennis Court Death Clip from #HORROR". ShockTillYouDrop.com. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  17. ^ Perez, Rodrigo (May 15, 2015). "Exclusive: First Look At Tara Subkoff's Directorial Debut '#HORROR' With Chloe Sevigny, Taryn Manning & More". Indiewire. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  18. ^ Hyland, Véronique (May 20, 2015). "Chloë Sevigny Is Starring in a Horror-Meets-Art Film". New York Magazine. The Cut. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  19. ^ Cott, Kaeli Van (July 31, 2015). "IFC Midnight Acquires Chloe Sevigny and Natasha Lyonne film #Horror'". Indiewire.com. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  20. ^ Page, Aubrey (November 19, 2015). "Director Tara Subkoff and the Cast of '#Horror' Talk Feminism and Cyberbullying at NYC Premiere". Indiewire. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  21. ^ Unknown, Unknown (October 10, 2015). "#Horror". IFCFilms.com. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  22. ^ "#Horror (2015)". RottenTomatoes.com. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  23. ^ "#Horror Reviews". Metacritic.com. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  24. ^ "#Horror (2015)". RottenTomatoes.com. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  25. ^ Scheck, Frank (November 19, 2015). "'#Horror': Film Review". TheHollywoodReporter.com. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  26. ^ Ziemba, Christine N. (November 25, 2015). "#Horror". Pastemagazine.com. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  27. ^ Kang, Inkoo (November 19, 2015). "'#Horror' Review: Chloe Sevigny Gets Embroiled in Cyber-Bullying That Escalates". TheWrap.com. Retrieved January 17, 2016.

External links[edit]