Welcome to A-Z Movie Reviews. Every Sunday, for the next several months, I will be posting a review of a film in my home movie collection. How it works is, I will be reviewing movies in alphabetical order until I get to the letter Z (Yes, I do have a film that ends in Z). Now I realize there are many ways to alphabetize a film collection but this is mine so don’t judge me. This is simply for fun.
They tell you that if you’re honest and say what you feel, then you’ll get what you want. The truth is no one wants the real you. So you stop telling the truth. You lie to your friends. You lie to your family. You lie to everyone who says they love you for being you because guess what? they’re lying too. They only want pieces and parts. They want to pick and choose. They want that laugh with that smile. That pic, with that confidence, that girl with that willingness. But not her. Not like that.
That’s what Lily Colson (Odessa Young) says during her inner monologue in Assassination Nation and I couldn’t agree more. Social media, the internet, we live our lives surrounded by it. We thrive off of it, it’s how we connect on a daily basis. We claim it brings us together but we never think of the ways in which it can tear us apart. Assassination Nation explores all of that.
What it’s about:
After a malicious data hack exposes the secrets of the perpetually American town of Salem, chaos descents and four girls must fight to survive, while coping with the hack themselves.
Hacking is a serious crime and violates us in a major way. The interesting thing is, unless you’re the victim, you don’t think much about it. The kids of East Salem High are exactly like that. They are self-absorbed and oblivious to everything going on outside of their little bubbles.
Social media is their lives and they think it’s the best thing in the world. When the Mayor and the school Principal are hacked, the town including the high school students have zero sympathy. In their minds, the second we post something, we give up our right to privacy. They truly believe if a person gets hacked, it’s their own fault.
Until it later happens to them.
The hacker who goes by the name Erostr4tus, sends Lily a creepy message warning her she’s next. Lily is creeped out but tries to ignore it. Unfortunately, the hacker makes good on his promise and she, along with 17,000 of the townspeople including her 3 friends Em (Abra), Sarah (Suki Waterhouse), and Bex (Hari Nef), have their information hacked.
Lily is distraught because she’s got a few things she didn’t want people to know about. Specifically, sending photos of herself to Nick (Joel Mchale), a married man whose daughter she used to babysit.
Things get even worse when she is accused of being the one who hacked the townspeople and made their information public. The people of Salem are restless and have been trying to bring down the hacker on their own. Because the police department, FBI, and even the government have not helped, they’ve been participating in some good old vigilante “justice.” Once they think the culprit has been found in Lily, mayhem ensues.
The thing that struck me while I watched the movie was that it was very reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials. The townspeople went after Lily and her 3 female friends with no real absolute proof that she hacked them. They were out for blood and nothing else. They didn’t want to give the girls a chance to speak at all. This could have been the intent of the director and if it was, then it hit the mark.
Another observation I made watching the movie was how quickly everyone turned on each other and judged one another based on their internet histories. It was interesting to me because, while they were going after each other about the things other people had done, they were not focused on their own skeletons. They were all guilty of doing something yet they wanted to turn their attention on who they believed was the cause of their darkest secrets to come out.
Assassination Nation is a film that makes you think. It makes you think of the image we portray outside versus what we hold inside. It will also really make you think about what’s in your own browser history.
- This film is full of trigger warnings and I’m glad Lily breaks them down before the film even starts to give the viewer a chance to tap out.
- The way Lily breaks down the process of a naked selfie to Principal Turrell is impressive.
- Lilys boyfriend Mark (Bill Skarsgard) is a dick
- Johnny (Cody Christian) is a dick.
- Basically every guy in this movie is a dick. Especially the men running the police department.
- The people of Salem wearing face masks and shouting “Take Salem back” is eerily like our world right now.
- Ems mom is badass
- If an intruder is in the house, put your phone on silent!!
- Lily’s speech to the townspeople particularly the girls/women of Salem is awesome.
- When you find out who the hacker is, it’s going to piss you off
Assassination Nation is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.