Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Cyberbully (2015)

Title:                            Cyberbully            
Release Date:             15th January 2015 (Channel 4)
Director:                      Ben Chanan
Starring:                      Maisie Williams
Duration Time:            Approximately 1 hour

The Channel 4 thriller "Cyberbully" which aired in the UK on 15th January 2015 was designed to make internet users - mainly teenagers - think about their actions online. The TV film tells the story of a girl named Casey Jacobs (Maisie Williams) whose life is essentially tracked online and quite literally, through her webcam. The film starts when a very personal tweet about Casey is posted from the account of her ex boyfriend, Nathan. Her best friend Megan suggests that Casey gets revenge on Nathan by hacking his Twitter account with the help of a guy named Alex. Little do we know, Alex turns out to be another hacker who appears to be keeping tabs on Casey's life through the use of the internet. He has access to everything - the topless photos she sent to Nathan when they were together, evidence of her harassing former fellow school pupil, Jennifer Li, and videos she made in which harsh comments are made about other people. He begins to speak to her under Alex's name, and threatens to release the topless photos unless she does as he says. While Casey is being tortured by the secret hacker, he really just wants to teach her a lesson. He claims to help other victims of cyberbullying by reaching out to the bullies and teaching them that this is not okay. Casey doesn't understand this as she believes she is being bullied too by this guy, and this provokes some serious thinking from the audience - is Casey the cyberbully or the victim of cyberbullying? Casey tries to deal with the hacker on her own, by trying to negotiate in order to stop her topless photos and videos being released.

My Review
This film proved to be a real eye opener for me. It's target audience seemed to be teenagers - of which I am - and I really think it provided an insight into just how dangerous the internet can be. If any TV film is to be shown in schools to give warning to teenagers, it surely has to be this one. While parts of it were creepy, and one part was supposed to be a jump scare (I did not find it all that scary, to be honest) I think teenagers of all ages could learn an important lesson.

I have not watched "Game of Thrones" (I know, what a crime!) and hadn't seen her in any other role prior to this but I have just checked her IMDB page and there is no way she is 17?! I'm 17 and that puts a lot of things into perspective. I often find myself cringing at the acting in these kinds of TV films but I thought Maisie's acting was insane. She carried the one hour weight of the film on her shoulders and had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. It wasn't predictable at all, and I honestly had no idea about what was coming around the corner. 

"Cyberbully" did give me chills and did terrify me - the thought that someone could hack into any computer that easily does frighten me. I am so carefree on the internet, I mean, I'm hiding behind a computer screen so how could anyone possibly know it's me? I think that's the attitude that many people have but this film proved me wrong. 

I think the message at the very end of the film was very powerful. Casey eventually, after talking to the hacker for the duration of the film which takes place in real time, decides to stop speaking to him. She closes her computer down and the bully becomes nothing. This is a message that I think will help everyone being bullied in today's society - if you stop talking to bullies, they lose all their power and essentially become nothing. 

Overall, I rate this film 5/5. Excellent acting and a brilliant example of a situation that many people experience online nowadays!

Chloe x

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