Written & Directed by: #AndrewBurdette
Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
Tyler (Burdette) and Robbie (Singleton) are two internet stars on the rise, famous not only for their plethora of ridiculous short videos chronicling a series of stupidly silly skits but also for their eloquently chosen catchphrase “bruh”. After amassing an impressive fanbase of over two hundred thousand followers, they now find themselves desperate to figure out how they are going to take their shtick to the next level. As fame and attention causes tensions to mount between the apparently not so inseparable pair, their attempt at one last big prank ends up pissing off the wrong guy, with horrific consequences.
Bruh.mp4 marks the directorial debut from aspiring multi-hyphenate #filmmaker and actor Andrew Burdette who along with his work and life partner Brianna Burdette, presents a film that deftly manages to avoid simple parody to become an impressive piece of work with something meaningful to say about the larger impact the internet and our ever-increasing need for digital validation and attention can have on our ability to be mentally healthy human beings.
What's perhaps most notable about this film and definitely deserving of credit is Burdette’s approach in how he goes about trying to faithfully represent the online world that Tyler and Robbie reside in, without looking to insinuate too much derision of the culture. Our introduction to our two social media up and comers comes through a highlight reel of sorts showcasing their “talents” for entertainment, which very accurately and brilliantly depict the kind of short-form nonsense you might see time and time again on TikTok or an Instagram story, each video emblazoned with their @tyler_and_robbie branding and accompanied by a veritable onslaught on comments and emojis.
The screen-life genre may still be in its relative infancy as far as cinema is concerned but moderate box office hits such as Unfriended and Searching have shown success can be had with this modern approach to story-telling if done right. Unfortunately, it is also a style that when not executed properly, can quickly descend into gimmickry. Luckily though, Bruh.mp4 knows just how far it can go with it in order to avoid that pitfall, opting for a more conventional but far more effective story-telling approach for the remainder of this unique drama.
It’s also bolstered by a flurry of decent performances from the whole cast, especially its young main players who all manage to accurately personify the attitudes of the new internet generation, but again without having resort to caricature or stereotype. But it’s Burdette’s show, both on and off the screen. Tyler, like a lot of today's internet stars, is a complete narcissist, concerned more with increasing numbers of faceless fans than his relationships with the tangible people around him, while also unwilling to accept responsibility for his own selfish behaviour. Burdette’s performance not only fully embodies this, but also highlights a detriment of empathy and basic human-to-human connection often attributed to the nature of young Gen Z adults growing up in the digital age.
It gets a little shaky in the third act, but overall Bruh.mp4 not only works as the piece of satire on internet culture it sets out to be, but also delivers as a pretty entertaining thriller. With more than a few twists and turns along the way, audiences who might think they have it all figured out could be in for a few surprises.
Watch the trailer here: