Call me old fashioned, but I still feel as if technology is a bizarre commodity. I grew up in the 1980s and 90s where we socialized outside, text messages were called notes, and we knew that when the street lights came on, it was time to beat feet back to home base. Although I’m technically a Millennial, I definitely identify with the previous generation known as Latchkey Kids. The reasoning behind this brief lesson in generational breakdown is due to my recent run-in with Recovery and its portrayal of the youth of today. This film is set in present time where every move we make can be documented on social media, and our quest for curiosity can culminate at our finger tips with a smartphone instead of “real life” experiences.
Recovery starts by introducing us to the world that we’re in today. Multiple social media outlets where our lives are being recorded and documented to share with the world wide web through videos, pictures, and status quotes of how we’re feeling. Jessie is no different than any other Generation Z kid. Social media tells her life’s story. Even when she finds her boyfriend with another girl at a pre-graduation party, she takes to social media to expose the creep. Once she finds enough courage to personally confront her cheating boyfriend, she is intercepted by Kim; a new girl from a different school who convinces Jesse he’s not worth the aggravation. The two embark on a adventure which appears to be out of the norm for these youngsters, but after Kim disappears with Jessie’s phone, a new quest starts with the help of a phone recovery app that leads Jesse, her brother Miles, and her rebellious “bad boy” love interest, Logan, on a path that takes a sadistic turn when they track the phone to a house where a demented family resides.
I won’t lie to you, I was rooting for the bad guys in this film. Even though the antagonists are one dimensional, I just couldn’t relate to the protagonists, but I think that’s what writer/director Darrell Wheat was going for. An eye opener of what we are becoming. Go to a bar or club, and you’ll see more people looking at the screen on their phones than there are human interactions. They were sheep to me. Just your run of the mill entitled turds. They’re typical “valley kids” of privilege. Jesse and her brother Miles bickering and trying to blackmail each other while Miles judges Logan based on his looks, where he lives, and what type of phone he has. Logan, our bad boy of the group, isn’t tech-savvy, and his flip phone and tattoos make him “rough around the edges”. It’s these sort of superficial simplifications that actual make Recovery work when a lot of the same plot devices would fail elsewhere.
What would seem hokey in traditional horror films, works in Recovery due to our characters living in a world where society has become inept in the skill of real-life situations. Wheat does an exceptional job depicting his characters by using the ignorance of their innocence. They have no-real experience, so they lack the ability of logical decision making in this extraordinary situation.
I have no true complaints with this one. Is it the pinnacle of modern horror film making? Of course not, but it has a great concept, good acting, and some decent cinematography to boot. It’s a sold and well constructed film. Some will find these characters to be unbelievable by the ridiculous decisions they make, but I beg to differ. Yes, they are exaggerated, but if you look hard enough at the youth in today’s society, you’ll start to see the (frightening) similarities.
Recovery is available on VOD as of October 28th