★★★★ Directed by: Marc Martínez Jordán Written by: Jaume Cuspinera, Marc Martínez Jordán Starring: Joe Manjón, Júlia Molins, Daniel Horvath, Biel Montoro, Mercè Montalà, Clàudia Pons, Àlex Maruny, Jóse García Ruiz Grimmest Film Festival Review by: Chris Olson
The Circle meets The Purge in this twisted viral horror from filmmaker Marc Martínez Jordán. Framed is a brutal exploration of the current social climate where the appetite for increasingly vitriolic content comes at the sacrifice of our own sense of morality and decency.
During a going away party a group of youngsters become the target for a savage trio of aggressors who manage a cult channel on the YouTube-esque app Framed. Their content largely consists of cruel beatings and escalating sequences of violence, sex, and forced drug taking. Our poor protagonists must find a way to escape their clutches but with the cameras rolling and the audience numbers growing, it looks as if their grisly demise is tonight’s featured clip.
The growing number of social media based horror movies shows an increased appetite from audiences for this kind of digital terror and cultural doom. Given the exponential spread of these kinds of platforms and the ever-changing functions they play in our everyday lives, it's no surprise filmmakers and storytellers have picked up on the potential for scary stories as there are so many aspects to be fearful of. What's particularly interesting about Framed is what impact social media could have on our own morality (or soul if you are so inclined).
The indie film takes a well-oiled approach and is a completely slick operation. From the opening credits the horror movie has a high production value and impressive aesthetic. The jump scares are numerous and effective, the blood gushes quicker than you can say LIKE and SUB, and the peppering of comedy lends a phenomenal sense of farce to the proceedings, complementing the story's own sense of how should we feel watching this content? Is it okay to laugh or should we be wincing? Challenging the audience in this way and maintaining a vibrant pace throughout makes this a formidable and worthwhile watch for any horror aficionado.
My main gripe with the movie is just the hero central characters. There are too many of them and most are largely forgettable. It is the villains who offer the more compelling viewing and the performance by Alex Maruny, who cuts a stunning turn as a Joker-cum-TV-presenter, is phenomenal. That being said I did thoroughly enjoy Daniel Horvath's portrait of the unwanted love interest, whose penchant for surviving all manner of injury was hilariously delivered.
A thrilling piece of modern genre cinema and storytelling, where the audience feels as complicit as the wrongdoers. Dark, twisted, and unmissable for any avid horror fan.