Anyone can be a serial killer, throughout history many of them have hidden in plain sight with neighbours horrified to find out that they’ve been living next to someone capable of murder. With this in mind, I Blame Society is a dark comedy film that focuses on a seemingly normal young woman Gillian (Gillian Wallace Horvat) who spirals out of control while trying to make the perfect film. As the story progresses, she soon finds out that the formula for making a great film is very similar to orchestrating a murder.
Filmed in a documentary style, we see Gillian’s desperate attempt to kickstart her career as a filmmaker. From the get go, this feels eerily real, and director Gillian Wallace Horvat appears to be playing a twisted version of herself. It’s disturbingly intimate, with the camera practically filming her every move. She alienates those around her by revealing she’s making a film about how she would hypothetically murder someone, and goes into great detail about the process. But of course, no one actually expected her to kill someone, they just think she’s a bit weird.
I Blame Society is a slow burn, and the first half of the film mainly follows Gillian, her friend Chase (Chase Williamson) and her boyfriend Keith (Keith Poulson). It turns out she’s been sitting on this idea for three years, after receiving a strange compliment from a friend that she would be a “good murderer”. The beginning of the film sees an uncomfortable discussion between Gillian and Chase, as she reveals she wants to make Chase’s girlfriend, who she offensively nicknames Stalin (Alexia Rasmussen), the subject of her perfect murder. Naturally Chase is not happy with this at all and the pair don’t speak for three years.
Gillian seems very sweet and innocent, despite being a little obnoxious, so it’s especially disturbing watching her descend into madness. During its hour and a half runtime we basically watch her having a breakdown, as she starts with petty crime like shoplifting before escalating into breaking and entering. At one point she even dramatically changes her appearance in front of the mirror. And of course, she films everything, bringing the audience along with her for the ride. She wears a camera on her head, and often looks a bit silly while doing it, but the things she goes on to film are far from innocent.
It’s inevitable that Gillian will go on to actually murder, but it’s still horrifying when it happens. Something the film does very well is taking you by surprise even when you’re able to predict the route it will go down. Just when you think you know what she’s up to, she does something that leaves your jaw on the floor. Some of the scenes in the second half of the film might even shock the most seasoned of horror fans.
There are plenty of mockumentary style films out there, and I Blame Society shows us just how well you can utilise the format to make something truly uncomfortable. The amateur nature of the film makes you feel like you’re watching someone’s home videos, which was the perfect way to tell this story. Gillian’s desperate attempt to make a perfect film is funny, terrifying, and at times, depressing. It’s easy to feel sorry for her and wonder what happened to make her behave like this, while still condemning the route she goes down for the sake of her art.
Over all, this film is an interesting examination of the extreme lengths people will go to do be taken seriously, and how craving acceptance can end up driving you insane. If someone had just liked Gillian’s concept, and given her a chance, she probably wouldn’t have done all the terrible things. It leaves plenty of food for thought and could make for an interesting debate about how society treats aspiring filmmakers.
I Blame Society is available on VOD from Friday 12 February 2021.