Anxiety, Static, Noise
by Aidan Beatty
“These are the lockers
There are the desks”
This film has left me awestruck. It swirls around my mind and clutters it with many different ideas and thoughts. I felt so sad and alone while watching this. It spoke to me on a level that I wasn’t prepared for and still struggle to comprehend. It’s a journey that I feel as though will haunt me in the coming days. The entire experience was melancholic and screaming with dread in a sense. It’s a film that requires deep analysis, but more specifically, a personal analysis. It won’t appeal to everyone, but there is something within the film that can be expressed to anyone. It’s a personal and individual experience that will vary from viewer to viewer. It’s likely to be read and discussed with its varying themes and explored from different perspectives all containing their own point of view with what it could be saying and what it is saying.
The cinematography is breathtakingly phenomenal. Moments have time to not only breathe but extend their raw atmosphere to such a believable and painful level. Some moments have this hint of cringe to them that doesn’t feel inappropriate, but rather emphasizes the point of raw relatability. The long takes are incredible and very impressive with what they accomplish. You get this emotion that sticks with you and follows you throughout the film. You get to experience these events unfolding on this weird personal level. The camera feels diegetic in scenes when it shouldn’t. You’re almost a third person, complicit and stalking these characters. We follow them in an uneasy way and when we stop following them and stay with a static shot, it’s extremely impactful to articulate the emotional vulnerability. The film also utilizes diegetic cameras perfectly in executing the perspectives of the videos being recorded. The opening sequence sticks out to me the most as being a flawless representation of anxiety and isolation. The framing and static camera make this moment unforgettable.
The horror within this film is personal and can affect each viewer in a variety of different ways. The interpretation of the events and how the story unfolds will vary depending on the viewer’s personal experiences and what they identify with. We fill in where the story is going and what we believe will happen by way of individual creativity. This further articulates the “game world” this film sets up as the story is different for each character. This “set narrative” isn’t obvious and keeps us guessing as to where we are going. We essentially create our own theories or “fan fiction” whilst we consume this media as the characters do as well. This is where I see the ending as yet another story being told that can be altered depending on someone else’s perspective. This never happened…or did it? It’s up to interpretation and that’s where the film strives with its content. It’s experimental and uncanny with its narrative and the horror comes from what we can’t understand and more importantly what we believe is real. Reality is blurred immensely within this film, especially with the perspective shift halfway through which I personally thought was brilliant. It elevates our sense of confusion in trying to comprehend what is real and what is all an act. Where does the storytelling stop and where are characters being genuine?
The internet acts as a gateway of expression, especially for those who feel isolated in articulating this expression. It is a way for one’s creativity to be shared and creates a community. Anxiety and depression can shelter these thoughts and restrict them from spreading their wings, whereas the internet can create a shield for personal struggles. Therein lies the conflict of uncertainty. Is this all an act? Is this person real? We put on a different face when we are on the internet which can alter our true personality. Is this person a complete fabrication? Are the stories they tell truthful? Anxiety floats around the internet in a dreadful way. The horror comes from not understanding if this conversation is a genuine reality or if it’s a fabrication designed to give us a false sense of security. There is no safety on the internet, and we are vulnerable. However, is that vulnerability truly personal or a personification of the ideas we wish to share?
Casey is there to be human in a world of noise. A voice of isolation, self-destruction and an expression of human connection. There is a lot to be said about this and more to dive into, especially with its topic of gender, but I don’t know if I would be the best to discuss this at this very moment in my life. I will have to rewatch the film sometime, so that I can research and better explore these topics and themes before discussing them. There is a lot to unpack and more importantly discuss. This is an extremely impactful film on me and one that I am grateful to have seen. I know a lot of people won’t like it and I understand why, but personally, I thought it was incredible. It’s a wonderful expression on anxiety, loneliness, fear of technology, storytelling and identity. More importantly, it’s a film that spoke to me and one that gives me many thoughts, questions and perspectives.
“I know how it’s going to end now”