Sometimes I wonder what life is like for those that aren’t completely devoted to genre films. For me, my love of film has dominated my entire life and I can mark down various milestones in my adolescence with movie titles. A particularly pivotal moment for me was the first time I had ever experienced Death Wish 3 – I revealed a previously unknown passion for vigilante films, and I wanted more.
My newfound curiosity led me through an intriguing wormhole of revenge films. Though I’ll always hold a high level of adoration for the Charles Bronson’s of the world, it wasn’t until I stumbled upon a very specific niche of vengeance that I truly punctured the artery of my interest. I Spit On Your Grave, Savage Streets, Ms.45… These were all films where women took the reigns and fired back at their abusers, and I couldn’t get enough of it.
Initially, I had assumed this torture of problematic males solely existed within the confines of grind-house cinema. I was under this impression until stumbling upon a film called Hard Candy. Up until that point, I wasn’t really wowed by adult women tapping into their power anymore – It was natural, it made sense. But Hard Candy was different. Our vigilante was a 14-year-old girl, and capable of things the majority of folks thrice her age typically would be.
Hard Candy was all about punishing internet predators preying on children via chatrooms. Not all dissimilar is a core plot element in #LIKE, in which a young teenaged girl named Rosie becomes hellbent on revenge spawned by the year anniversary of her sister’s suicide. Paranoia surrounding her sibling’s suicide becomes fuelled upon discovering a cyber trail of predatory messages from an unknown man on her social media accounts. Believing this anonymous figure to be directly responsible, she hunts until she decides upon a target, bringing the matter of torture into her own adolescent hands.
With the connection between the two aforementioned films made clear, #LIKE also rang another round of recall bells in my mind. Searching…, a 2018 drama wherein a father investigates his missing daughter’s laptops in efforts to locate her, also demonstrated the importance of social media in recovering information. Given all of these plot links, I was fairly confident I had the progression of #LIKE entirely mapped out… And thankfully, I was wrong!
Had this played out as I thought it would, I likely still would’ve been pleased. However, this movie pummelled me with plot twists, which truthfully gave it a more realistic atmosphere. Hard Candy was awe-inspiring in how perfectly calculated action was, in contrast, #LIKE tapped into the much more real, chaotic nature that tends to plague a young woman’s mind. It showed the dangers of piecing together a puzzle without all the pieces, and how drawing quick conclusions can have absolutely devastating ramifications.
This transcends the realm of revenge films for me. Seldom have I ever come across a coming-of-age film that brings me back to the awful anxiety brought upon by media bullying – How isolating it can feel, and how quickly minor things become so blown out of proportion one feels like they cannot escape them. For me, that is exactly what an effective film does – It makes you feel. And man, this brought back feelings I haven’t felt in over a decade. Was pleasantly surprised by the depth provided, and this just may be yet another pivotal experience in my progression as an aging movie fanatic.