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i-Lived, written and directed by Franck Khalfoun, is a laughably incompetent horror movie that takes a potentially interesting idea and utterly fails at every level of its execution.
The basic premise revolves around a self-help app called i-Lived, which promises to fulfill whatever goals its users set for themselves. Simply enter your objective and i-Lived will provide you with the steps you need to undertake. Josh (Jeremiah Watkins), a young online app reviewer, starts using i-Lived and is surprised when it starts working well beyond his wildest dreams – but it’s not long before he realizes something sinister is afoot.
Now here’s an idea that can explore modern society’s overreliance on technology – how it can be a very useful tool, but also serve as crutch that can cause us to be dangerously codependent. Alternatively, this could be a more straightforward addiction story, about a man who loses control and lapses into a potentially life-ruining habit.
i-Lived doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface in either direction. No, this is a movie that tries to play off the fact that i-Lived spelled backwards is Devil-i as a genuinely clever and shocking twist.
The supernatural angle is the movie’s first and perhaps most crucial mistake. Technology and the supernatural can work, but it requires a very careful balance that i-Lived simply doesn’t have. Things escalate way too quickly, with the app pretty much doing impossible things from the very start.
This is a comically inept movie, with cheap production values, horrible acting and stilted writing. It’s never scary or atmospheric and it doesn’t even come close to building any sort of tension. At best, it’s obnoxiously predictable, with cheap jump scares executed so poorly they won’t even make you jump. The ominous shadowy figure that pursues the protagonist is literally just some guy with an umbrella. He’s the most non-frightening sight imaginable and yet we’re expected to fear him.
The most fun you can have with i-Lived is spotting all the various inconsistencies and mistakes the movie is littered with. There are several scenes framed as if we’re being shown one of Josh’s videos, with a video player running in the foreground – yet, in most of them, Josh always seems to be finishing a review of some app even though the player says the video only started right now. Also, most of Josh’s videos are under two minutes and have way too many annoying effects. No wonder he never made it big on his own.
There’s also a point where Josh steals some expensive clothes to accomplish one of his goals. He steals, because he doesn’t have the money to buy them. Makes sense, except earlier in the movie he was somehow able to take both cooking and dancing lessons long enough to at least learn something. Even if those come cheap, it’s difficult to imagine someone on the verge of being evicted for not paying rent or his bills would do something that stupid. Then again, Josh is a bit of an idiot.
There is nothing of value to be found in i-Lived except a possibly intriguing premise. It’s an astonishingly bland and poorly made little horror movie that is only worth your time if you are fascinated by terrible movies, or are a comedy reviewer that makes a living off of them.