Modern day Salem finds itself in the midst of a privacy storm as an unseen hacker gradually reveals all of its townsfolk’s secrets. As humiliation turns to rage, social media-obsessed schoolgirl Lily Colson (Odessa Young) and her friends unwittingly find themselves as the target for their town’s violent revenge.
Right from it’s outset Director Sam Levison’s ‘Assassination Nation’ has Trump’s America in its sights…
Right from it’s outset Director Sam Levison’s ‘Assassination Nation’ has Trump’s America in its sights. Clearly aimed at a domestic audience, this comedy thriller uses a high school satire to lampoon American society’s willingness to accept the first thing they hear. Fuelled by each piece of gossip immediately re-tweeted as ‘fact’, Salem’s townspeople quickly turn on each other and the town swiftly descends into mob rule.
As the scale of violence (particularly against the women) increases, the movie’s initially comedic, observational tone slides away. Vacuous Lily and her friends are subjected to repeated beatings, rapes and mob lynchings, and with that any credibility disappears along with the rule of law and press oversight.
In its desperate need to visually articulate the girls’s horror, their scenes are ruddily graphic whereas any justifying the menfolk becoming rampaging vigilantes, is slight. The rationale behind their fury is only ever alluded to, never shown, whereas the camera uncomfortably lingers each of the girls’ attacks. Maybe that’s the point. However, this disparity in emphasis undermines the solid punches the movie wants to land, and in doing so, leaves you feeling more brutalised than informed.
Unsurprisingly by the end of ‘Assassination Nation’ there is an reckoning to be had. Telegraphed in from its very outset, vengeance arrives in the form of mini-skirts and male-assimilated violence. With its revenge cycle complete, the movie then tries to the address the audience directly from its hyper real construct. Sadly though, ensconced inside the fast-paced slang of a high school teen drama, this movie’s dulled dialogue (whilst occasionally diverting) is never really sharp enough to do the job. ‘Heathers’ this is not.