Josh Fosse is a 20something guy whose life is going nowhere. His girl left, his rent is late, and he lacks a real job. He is trying to make it as an app reviewer online and decides to review a self help app called i-Lived for fun. He’s signs on and immediately his life turns around. He meets the girl of his dreams and he gets a job offer he can’t refuse. Convinced it’s him and not the app, he signs out… and loses everything. He signs on again but this time the terms are different, the app is asking him to do things that are out of his moral comfort zone… but essential to becoming the success the app tells him he can be.
The concept of this film seemed interesting to me and relevant enough when looking at today’s modern society. A restyling of the old Faust story, as it were. A modern appearance with a raised, pedantic finger at the way some experience their social life nowadays. Unfortunately, it really wasn’t creepy enough to call it a horror. The images shown weren’t demonic, but the subtle underlying message was. It’s not that we are signing a pact with the devil when we create a Facebook account or a Twitter account. Or when you install an app on your smartphone that tells you when it’s time to get some calories or finally have a decent meal, and periodically warns you when it’s time to go to the bathroom. But some individuals their lives are so controlled by these social media, that it looks as if they really signed something.
Similarly Josh Fosse (Jeremiah Watkins). A nerdy twenty something whose girlfriend left him for a probably more social type of guy and who’s not able to pay his bills due to the lack of a decent job. The only thing he spends his time with is chasing away or hiding for the landlady and maintaining a video blog where he tests new apps and gives it a score. Until one day he discovers the I-Lived app and uploads it to his smartphone. It’s a simple app that asks for your wishes and after you’ve completed certain tasks, these wishes will also be fulfilled. Well, you don’t have to be an Einstein to know where this is going.
The beginning of this film was quite pubertal and sometimes even annoying. First you have to undergo a series of these video messages. Apparantly Watkins is a pretty notorious comedian. He was already the funniest at home while walking around in diapers they say. But to be honest I didn’t think it was that hilarious after all. Even a laugh track wouldn’t have helped. Until the moment I-Lived (And for those who haven’t figured it out yet : try reading the film title backwards) starts defining his life. Then there are some hilarious moments. They look rather slapstick-like but they are still funny enough to give this film a second chance. But by the time it all gets a bit darker and Josh starts realizing there are sinister forces at work, it’s all a little too predictable plus boring and it’s certainly not creepy.
Anyway, I thought the part about the User Agreement was cleverly thought up. Who reads those legal gibberish anyway before installing some software? Without a doubt hardly anyone. This was for sure an admonishing message. But beyond this subtlety it was widely annoyance being demonstrated with clockwork regularity. The first thing that struck me was the fact that most people knew their way there very well. Or perhaps nobody else is driving around there on the streets. Because you should take a close look at how long Josh’s friend and girlfriend aren’t paying attention while driving. I thought that was terrifyingly long. Then the app-reviews, which are presented all the time in a kind of YouTube manner, started to nerve me severely. The content was quite alright, but the recurring gimmicks in these videos were a bit too much. And at last the ultimate task that Josh must perform, wasn’t that convincing and thought provoking. It ‘s not as sinister or insane as in “13 Sins” for example. Josh Fosse isn’t really an acting miracle but fortunately all other actors their performances were of a questionable level, so in the end Josh’s acting stood out in a way. Fortunately for him. The only sublime part in the whole movie was the connection between the first fragment and the last fragment. Unfortunately, the rest of the film wasn’t as radical as the end.