FEATURE FILM REVIEW
Once you start, you're hooked.
THE STORY GOES a little like this. A neglected and naive teenage girl uses the internet to deceive people for gifts until she crosses the wrong person, and things take a terrifying turn. The term catfishing is quickly becoming embedded into our modern lexicon for a good reason. People all over the world are doing it. There are even gameshows now that encourage catfishing into the gameplay, so the premise of Fisher is not only a good one but a relevant one. Many people would be pretty angry if they found out they're not communicating with the person they thought, so happening on an unstable or murderous catfishing victim could be devastating. Under all the sub-stories and characters, that's what this film is really about. Consequences.
CLARA ENDS UP WITH A STALKER. SOMEONE SHE'S BEEN CATFISHING?
The film opens with an all-or-nothing bang: a murder and a biblical quote. Filmmaker Cassandra Bryson goes for the jugular and instantly throws her movie into the chaos of murder before slowing down to meet its star teenager. Clara (Lilly Leann Wright) is excited to get to her laptop, where she's been catfishing unsuspecting people for what appears to be quite a while. Using various photos from the net of scantily clad women, she's been doing pretty good for herself while at the same time managing to avoid any real-life meet-ups. Her friend Deja (Nasim) has found out about Clara's suspect behavior, but what can you do? Clara is stubborn.
As the title progresses, Clara ends up with a stalker. Someone she's been catfishing? That's exactly right and let me tell you that this "person" is quite angry. The stalking slowly turns more violent, starting with photos passed around at school and then even the cutting of the brakes on Clara's car and a sinister nighttime visit. It ramps up even more during the final act when Clara is cornered in her home with the killer on the loose. If Fisher sounds a little cut and dried, that's only because I've left out most of the sub-stories of the film. No use in spoiling everything.
IT DOESN'T FEEL LIKE THE SAME PERSON IS WRITING THE VARIOUS CHARACTERS.
The one thing Fisher has going for it, is that every character seems to be fleshed out pretty deeply. Even characters that are only really glimpsed get much more than just a name drop and sentence. But generally speaking, the cast of this film is varied and quite eclectic. It doesn't feel like the same person is writing the various characters, and they all have their own emotional sticking points. When writing about micro-budget films, it's often said that all the characters sound the same, but that's not the case with Fisher.
But then we have the other half of the story. All the extra character development and extra scenes have come at a price. This movie was too long. There's no way to pussyfoot around the issue. Some movies can get away with exaggerated lengths, but most can not - especially micro-budget titles. With no malice intended, I want to write that getting through this movie was at times challenging and, to be brutally honest? There was no need. Audiences shouldn't feel like they are being force-fed an extra 35-40 minutes simply because a creator refused to make the necessary cuts and wanted to include "everything." That was how it felt here. Fisher is too long. Had it been cut down a smidge, I would have gladly awarded this film four stars. But my comfort level needs to be taken into account, and yes. There was a lot of drag in this film.
FISHER IS AMBITIOUS, INTELLIGENT, AND BOASTS A MUCH LARGER FEEL THAN I EVER EXPECTED.
An exciting and solid thriller? I really can't say otherwise and am grateful to have been introduced to this film. Fisher is ambitious, intelligent, and boasts a much larger feel than I ever expected it would. However, I have to remind myself that the (My) issue with the length was a creative choice, and although I may disagree, that doesn't mean others will have any problems at all. The big takeaway? Don't mess around with people online. For that matter, don't mess around with people at all. You never know just who it is you're messing with.
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