BY: TJ FOWLER
Ever wonder what the NSA would do if they were spying on your Skype calls and witnessing some crazy supernatural shit going down during your calls? Well…not much, like most government entities they are worthless. However in ‘Chatter’ we get to see some strange ghost mojo go down between David (Brady Smith) and his super hot, full figured wife Laura (Sarena Khan). All the while they get some government sanctioned peeping tom looking in on their activities with ever growing concern. Cue the pseudo- sex tape shenanigans and one pissed off ghost that can cyber hop between Skype calls. One important question…where were all the boobies!
Living in a world where our technology has us connected more than ever while actually keeping us more emotionally detached it is logical to think horror movies are going tap into this to try and create some thrills that can kill. ‘Chatter’, written and directed by Matthew Solomon, attempts to create a hybrid ‘found footage’ film mixed with traditional film making. What we have as a final product is a pretty well-crafted film, with solid acting with a decent story that will keep you engaged and somewhat weirded out.
David has recently moved back to L.A. for a job writing a soundtrack for a movie, while leaving his wife Laura back in London until she can leave work in few weeks to finally join him. During this time they stay connected via Skype calls. At first all is well, the couple gets a little kinky and all is well until some weird shit starts going down in David’s newly moved into house. Whether it is hearing a kid cry all night long, having weird dreams, emails not reaching his employer or viewing Skype calls where his wife is fucking her boss, things start going south fast.
On top of this there is a third party character that is contracted out by the government to spy on Skype calls and runs across David and Laura’s increasingly bizarre calls and who slowly grows a conscious during the movie. This aspect of the film I thought was an interesting element to add in and I really dug the idea that there was a possibility of some clandestine group involved in some way.
As David continues to encounter increasingly strange things, his wife Laura tries to help the best she can from London until the entity is able to hop over to her apartment in London via opening Skype and connecting both computers. Laura then suddenly seems to have a shift in attitude, from one of disbelief to one of wanting to adopt a ghost baby? Also, David begins to tell her to get out of the apartment which at this point Laura seems a bit detached from reality and refuses. The story does explain why Laura might be behaving this way but still to me, her jump from logical wife to ghost adoption was a bit too far of a leap.
I think ‘Chatter’ did an excellent job with its story in connecting David to the house, the ghost and his past history to some past relationships he had. It felt very organic and natural how that part played out and I applaud the writers for crafting that aspect in such a fashion. Also, I like the secret spy agency angle though I felt the idea was used in way that almost seemed secondary in some ways. To me, and this may be because I am a big shadowy, dark secret kind of guy, I think it would have been cooler to where we just see this person operating in a very secretive place, never really see their face and it play out as if this organization was somehow pulling the strings as to what was going on between David and Laura. This is an idea that is vaguely alluded to in how the government employee and his boss interacts during segments of the movie, so for the viewer it will be a matter of taste if it this aspect of the story is conveyed to your liking.
As much as I liked Chatter, it does have some flaws. As with many movies of this nature there is always the, ‘WHY THE FUCK DO YOU NOT JUST GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE HOUSE!’ And yes, this happens in the movie especially with David who earlier tells his wife this advice but then doesn’t heed it himself. So yeah, there are a few logic holes and like I mentioned above I would have liked the government spying angle played a bit different. The acting overall was good but there was one line that Laura said during the movie that reminded me of the line in the movie ‘The Room’ where that guy says ‘You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!’ Laura’s line came off so much like the one in the ‘The Room’ I swear I think it was an intentional parody. If so…well done! I laughed HARD!
Despite a few logic holes, ‘Chatter’ kept me interested and engaged with its story and I enjoyed the film due to the likable nature of the two lead characters and their solid acting. I really dug the third wheel government spying idea and also how the story weaved an interesting web that connected David to everything going on.
‘Chatter’ is playing in select festivals it will be playing at the Nevermore Film Festival in North Caroline in mid-Feb and at Long Beach Comic expo the weekend of Feb 20th, and has won several awards including Best Horror Feature at the Philip K Dick Sci-Fi Film Festival as it rightly deserves. If you have a chance, check it out and remember to encrypt your Skype calls.