Friday, 3 August 2012

Chatroom, dir. Hideo Nakata, wr. Enda Walsh, st. Aaron Johnson, Hannah Murray, Imogen Poots, Matthew Beard, Daniel Kaluuya

Never quite escaping the shackles of its A-Level-themed 'issue'-flavoured theatricality but given an adequately creative visual concept by Ring director Nakata, Chatroom tells the story of five teenagers who come together online to talk about teen stuff, although this seems to primarily consist of asking each other, "what do you hate?" They're all given their own unique whine - albeit lame-o and noncommittal problems - but none more so than William played by Aaron Johnson, Kick Ass's Kick Ass, a cutter who seeks - Evelyn Ann Thompson-style - to indirectly tamper with the insecurities of a fellow depressive for sport. To make the drama (of what are essentially lines of text spoken on a computer screen) sing, Nakata has the characters meeting in an opulent hotel room, its corridors and suites standing in for the labyrinthine ones and zeros of the cyber world. It's suitably creepy and at least one sequence - William voyeuristically observing via web-cam a Japanese girl plunge to her death from her bedroom window - has distinct echoes of the J-Horror Nakata's famed for, but the script, adapted by Walsh from his own play text, makes for too limp and uninspiring a story to provide any real thrills.