There are certain directors that I enjoy so much that I’d never miss a new project by them. After his work on P2 and Maniac, one of those directors is Franck Khalfoun. His latest film, i-LIVED had tons of promise, but unfortunately, managed to fall a little flat.
Josh is a struggling 20-something year old who reviews apps in his tiny apartment. His girlfriend has left him and he can’t seem to get ahead in any aspect of his life. He stumbles across a self-help app that actually seems to be working. It gives him tiny missions that each take him one step closer to whatever goal he inputs into the program. Everything seems to be going extremely well, until Josh decides to deactivate his i-LIVED membership. This turns out to be a huge mistake as everything around him begins falling apart once again. He re-activates his account only to find that his missions are becoming more sinister as he dives deeper into his life’s goals.
The premise behind Khalfoun’s i-LIVED is certainly an original one. We have seen a bunch of tech-related horror films over the past few years, but nothing quite like this one. Everyone can relate to using an app for everyday activities — whether it is an app for a daily forecast, a horoscope app, or a to-do-list reminder, there are apps for everything. There are also many self-help apps out there that are created to help motivate individuals who are going through a tough time in their lives. So what happens when the app finally starts working the way it promises? It’s an interesting idea, but too many other factors took me out of this one for me to really enjoy it.
I really enjoyed the performance by Jeremiah Watkins. As Josh, he was a little nerdy, but his charisma on screen really kept my attention… for the most part. When he was filming his wacky online app-reviews, I was entertained enough to forget how embarrassed I was for him, but at some moments, I felt his acting was mediocre at best. It was kind of strange actually. Watkins seems more comfortable being goofy than being serious at times. Unfortunately, the supporting cast wasn’t all that impressive either, leaving it up to Watkins alone to pull the film along.
The story itself is merely okay, but there is one truly impressive thing about this release that I must note. The DVD release of i-LIVED comes with an insert, which displays step-by-step instructions on how to download and install a real app on your smart phone to use in conjunction with the film. After pressing play, you can sync the app, allowing it to stay on your device’s screen, following along with what is occurring on your television. As the viewer/app user, we get to see certain pop-ups that Josh is seeing on his phone, specific mission alerts, etc. While I was extremely impressed with the creation and inclusion of a real accompanying app, it wasn’t without its flaws.
Whenever I paused the film, the app seemed to fall out of sync. It became frustrating as re-syncing wasn’t as easy as I’d expected, resulting in me having to shut down the app completely and re-open it multiple times. While this isn’t the end of the world, it did further take me away from what was going on in the film.
i-LIVED is a film that should be watched at least once, in order to experience a truly unique second-screen experience. It is somewhat of a disappointment overall, but I won’t let it sway me from being a huge Khalfoun fan. Be sure to pick up a copy of the film on DVD, available now from XLrator Media.
I give this one 2.5 app review stars out of 5.