Cyberbully full movie review - A gripping and compelling drama with a solid acting performance from Maisie Williams.
Cyberbully is a well created, well edited and well-acted short TV film starring Maisie Williams. Best known for her role as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones, Maisie Williams performs in a type of role which I was yet to see her; unsurprisingly she did a very good job.
It is the story of internet bullies/trolls, it shows first-hand the devastating consequences that they can have on teenagers. The story starts innocently normal with Casey (Maisie Williams) talking online with two of her friends. When her friend goes offline, Casey is then approached by her other friend in a private chat, it soon turns out that he isn't who he says he is and has been hacked. A string of blackmailing, bullying and terror follows as Casey is held to ransom by an unknown hacker. The entire film is shot within her bedroom, at a computer with a webcam, for this to be pulled off it needed to be fresh, smart and intriguing ? thankfully it was all three.
The choppy editing is very well done and creates suspense and uneasiness throughout. The hacker speaks to Casey through a computerised voice watching her every move on webcam. The shots of the computer screen are created well and this was necessary for a movie based solely in one confined location.
As I read so many mixed reviews on this I decided to do a spoiler review so I could discuss my opinions and also give my opinion on other people's criticisms that I have read. 1) 'As if a couple of nude leaks could make a girl accept the idea of overdosing'. We are made aware from one of the very first scenes that Casey is on antidepressants, a comment is made by the hacker on a twitter account about her and we also see her taking one of the pills. This informs us from the start that this girl is unstable. She has her own issues and could potentially be vulnerable to stressful situations. Put this with the fact that she has just been made to believe that she was solely responsible for the suicide of another teenage girl. Suddenly it doesn't seem so unreasonable now, does it?
2) 'Ending was rubbish as we didn't see who the hacker was'. For me, the identity of the hacker was irrelevant as the message was much deeper than a simple 'who done it' scenario. I did find myself guessing who the hacker was throughout this movie but as the final scenes panned out and the credits rolled I quickly realised that I had been missing the point. I initially thought it was her friend she was talking with in the past, I considered that it could then be her ex-boyfriend, and then it could have been the parent of the teenage girl who died. In the end we find out clearly that it was a troll who commented on one of the posts about the girl who died, we don't know any more than that and we don't need to. The main point of cyber bully isn't about who the hacker is, it's about the dramatic consequences of online bullying on one hand and also how to see clearly through the upset on the other. We see Casey call out for her father at the end of the movie, just after receiving reassurance from her best friend that she is there for her no matter what has happened. This is the moment that it hits Casey how lucky she is, she realises what she has in this world, she has people who care about her and she won't let a cyberbully ruin her life as was done previously with the girl who committed suicide.
Casey was the girl who created and posted the original video of the girl singing, this was what started the bullying. The hacker was the person who left the first comment on the video (we know this from his typing of 'har har'). The hacker tries to push Casey to suicide through blackmail and enforcing guilt, could this be the reason why the other girl in the video committed suicide? The hacker tells Casey that it was all her fault and that she it totally to blame for posting the initial video. Casey is in the wrong but was the hacker more so to blame? Did he perform the same extensive bullying which he has done to Casey, on the other girl before she died?
Overall, Cyberbully was a well created, impressively acted and chillingly realistic view of online bullying. Some aspects may seem a little far-fetched and clichéd but the ultimate message is clear and powerful.