Sweet Kitty Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Wrong Door Productions
Written and directed by Kurt Nangle
2017, 104 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Released on 4th November 2017
Emilie Germain as Marley
Bret Grantham as Caleb
Sean McQueen as Marcus
Saif Ali as Pravi
Online entrepreneurs discover all-new meaning to the phrase ‘dark web’ when they accidentally unleash an Internet demon upon themselves while trying to help out a viciously trolled old lady. As if being a woman online wasn’t difficult enough already, now app creator Marley has to contend with an all-new threat to the Internet, and herself. Makes a change from MRAs and Trumper bots at least.
In spite of the web as we know it being old news by now, there’s a surprising dearth of Internet-based horror films – and those that we do have (the exceptional The Den aside) haven’t exactly set the world alight (and in the case of Fear Dot Com and the Unfriended films, were downright unwatchable). The net may have taken over almost every aspect of our waking lives, but the horror genre remains one area it has yet to conquer.
Promisingly, Kurt Nangle’s Sweet Kitty is not a found footage horror film and nor is it set on a teenage girl’s laptop screen. Together, Nangle’s main characters make up a more interesting lot than the usual dumb teenagers which tend to populate this sort of thing, with Emilie Germain’s Marley serving as a sympathetic, likeable and reasonably intelligent lead. Its story is promising too – following a gang of web developers as they try to fight an ancient evil in a very modern wireless environment. On paper, it’s Unfriended meets The Ring; Lovecraft for the App Store generation.
Unfortunately, in reality, it’s something of a boring slog that never lives up to its own premise. While the technobabble and Silicone Valley-esque company politics make a nice change from the usual horror clichés, they don’t really make for compelling viewing either, and many viewers will be put off by the slow build-up and lack of scares. For all its potential, the story never really takes off, and its central threat is too nebulous and meandering to ever make its mark on the film.
Which is a shame, because Sweet Kitty is sharply shot and well-acted, with infrequent bouts of genuine atmosphere and infrequently unsettling imagery. Even its title evokes a sense of dread that the film itself never lives up to, and the earliest scenes where elderly Judith is tormented by a series of creepy animated cat videos/sounds are among the creepiest in the whole affair.
There’s an ambition and competence to Sweet Kitty a difficult one to dismiss outright. Although it’s a difficult film to connect with or even like, it does try to tell a story that’s a little different from most – and for that it should be commended.
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