“Assassination Nation” is a Hipster’s Cinematic Witch Hunt

Written by | Entertainment, Screen

assassination nation

Odessa Young, Hari Nef, Suki Waterhouse and Abra in ASSASSINATION NATION. Courtesy of NEON

Set in Salem, Massachusetts this film chronicles a fun but bloody witch hunt fit for our social-media obsessed culture. The would-be witches are four teenage girls — Lily, Bex, Sarah and Em — who come off a bit like ‘mean girls’ at first because they’re hot, a tight-knit group that seem to float above a lot of the small town/high school drama that swirls around them. They actually turn out to be pretty cool; however, it’s hard to stay cool when everyone wants to kill you.

A mysterious hacker begins by gaining access to and then posting all the private data (personal e-mails, texts, private photos) of the mayor, then the school principal, and eventually half the town. In the wake of all the lives ruined as a result, folks look for someone to blame, and a random twist of fate leads them to blame our four young heroines, forcing them to defend themselves until they are covered in blood and walking their suburban streets carrying assault rifles and samurai swords.

Director Sam Levinson’s latest film is difficult to categorize, but it is definitely good fun with an interesting, (if vague) social message. The writing is often engaging and the cast is strong – Bill Skarsgård (It, Castle Rock), Maude Apatow (This is 40), Joel McHale (Community) and Noah Galvin (The Real O’Neals) have nice moments in this darkly comic modern-day morality tale. As Lily, Odessa Young (The Daughter) gets most of the film’s focus, carrying it with natural verve, and as Bex, trans actor Hari Nef (Transparent) is definitely a scene stealer. THE WORD: At times, it may feel a bit messy, but the film has spirit and casts a certain spell. COMING TO: Theaters

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Last modified: November 7, 2018