The Horror Honeys: The Overlook Film Festival - 'Like Me'

The Overlook Film Festival - 'Like Me'

An Overlook Film Festival Review with Bella Blitz

Like Me (2017)

The lengths to which we will go to be admired, adored, loved, and liked by our peers is unknown. It is ever changing and evolving with our own growth, regression, and the introduction of new and exciting means of socializing, popularizing, and desegregating. Unfortunately, all too often, these lengths are over-explored, and lines are crossed, well before we realize that attention we seek is self-masturbatory and pointless. We will never truly be contented by our peers approval without first approving of ourselves.

That may sound trite and a lot like some psycho-babble-bullshit. And, for the most part, it is. But there is a truth in it that should be examined. Like Me does not attempt to examine that truth; instead, it explores the lengths and the lines, drawing them in the sand, crossing them, and drawing new ones that you dare not cross… until you do.

Like Me’s synopsis is straightforward enough: “A reckless loner, desperate for human connection, sets out on a crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. Her reality quickly splinters into a surreal nightmare as her exploits spiral out of control.” But the film itself goes much deeper than that.

Exploring social themes that barely existed five years ago, Like Me dips its toes into the cracking psyche of a “youtuber” free from material constraints and homebound responsibilities (even her pet rat doesn’t have a name), but chained to the all-encompassing addiction of peer review and internet fame. Through acid-tinted lenses we witness a self-induced control spiral in which our protagonist/antagonist Kiya (Addison Timlin, The Town That Dreaded Sundown) pushes and pulls herself to find balance with what she is offering the masses and just being happy.

What's a little breakfast and a story between a potentially sociopathic YouTuber and a stranger?
But the internet is always hungry and when you fail to serve yourself up for a feast, the internet will strike back. Like Me does not avoid taking a look at trolls, their effect on creators, or their own desires to be liked. In fact, Like Me introduces Burt (Ian Nelson, The Deleted), Kiya’s rival troll, to remind her that her act is failing to fill-up the gaping maws of the social-network depraved. Burt plays three parts in Kiya’s existential spiral: First, he is the new voice in the internet echo chamber taking attention away from Kiya. Second, he is Kiya’s own subconscious and reminder that what she presents to her fans is not actually her. And third, he is a new line.

Ultimately, Like Me is a candy-colored exploration of the loss of your sense of self as you cater to, and create for, a multitude of people you do not know. It is also a look at how easy it is to lose yourself in those creations and those people. Kiya asks her victims to tell her a story, presumably so she can get to know them, but more profoundly so she can remember who she is.

But who are you really?
Unfortunately, it is hard to remember who you are when you are but a puppet of your own creation. In Like Me, Kiya’s fans are the puppeteers and the only real-life person (IRL, for all you internet speakers out there) she begins to connect with becomes codependent on the strings they pull. Marshall (Larry Fessenden, I Sell The Dead) has the potential to bring humanity back into Kiya’s life, reminding her that the people she uses for video fame are actual people and that the adoration of her fans is fleeting… “That’s the thing about pets, you have to keep them from running away.” Sadly, the lure of recognition snags Marshall and he, too, becomes momentarily ensnared by the LED glow of likes, plays, and views.

Like Me isn’t a movie about a spiral out of control; it is a movie about a meticulously plotted spiral controlled by other people. It’s not a movie about how the social-network system has created long-lasting friendships and camaraderie amongst like-minded peoples. Like Me is a brief and terrifying look at the worst of what the internet has to offer and the worst of what some will do to be accepted there.

The sound of static can drive you crazy, 
much like the sound of millions of "friends" driving you to the depths of hell.
Early in the film Kiya approaches a homeless man who demands she put the camera down. Her refusal to listen prompts him to say, “You are not being safe.” Like Me is a vivid, neon sign reminding us that the internet is not safe. The problem with neon signs is, once they flicker and dim, it’s easy to forget what they were warning you about.

Zombie Honey Rating: 4 out of 5 "likes"