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Killing Them Harshly

Assassination Nation follows the town of Salem, as its residents find their personal information and secrets exposed on social media for all to see. Soon the town devolves into chaos and violence as the revelations turn their ugly heads.

Assassination Nation Review

Driving a bus is great but sometimes the traffic down here in Hell is well…hell. So, from time to time I find myself wasting time in the theater rather than wanting to sit in the driver’s seat waiting or listening to a podcast. The other day I found myself in this very situation and chose to see Assassination Nation. This movie seems like it could be one of two things: An arthouse flop like It Follows or a crazy romp into social behavior ala, The Purge. What I did not expect was for it to somehow be an insane combination of the two, that I truly enjoyed.

Our story is set in the town of Salem, and yes there are very heavy-handed witch hunt references. It follows a group of girls who are the archetypical Instagram/Twitter generation folk. Posting selfies and what not, but surprisingly the main character Lily is incredibly self-aware. Not to say the others are not; the whole group was great, but Lily’s comments in the film (which I won’t spoil here) are some of the profound questions I ask myself as a demon living in the digital information age. While there are a whole mess of things that make this movie a huge and amazing social commentary, I will mostly focus on why I think it is a good horror film today. Last thing I will say is kudos for casting a transgender actor (Hari Nef) in a transgender role. Two horns way up for that!

Anyway, the town of Salem‘s residents start to have their private information exposed and, you guessed it, that doesn’t bode well for them. People start to get a little crazy after fingers are pointed and we end up straight in the horror category.

This movie is even so self-aware it has trigger warnings in the beginning (all of which are very real). Things like rape, homophobia, bigotry, etc. are all parts of this film and important to the plot. So be aware, if you watch it, those alone could be enough to make you cringe or not even be able to finish it. The series of events that Lily and her friends are put through truly do frighten and disturb the audience. In the end, the group fights back and hard. The end is very reminiscent of The Last House on the Left or I Spit on Your Grave and is truly enjoyable to witness.

While the movie ends kind of abruptly leaving you wanting more violence, it does end with a powerful message about being stuck in a world you didn’t create (my literal life). So this movie ends up being great for a multitude of reasons:

  • Awesome cast including Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, Bill Skarsgard, and Della Thorne

  • Super awesome and empowering messages about people and how they react to issues

  • Intense and vicarial horror experience

I will say it again, I was very surprised with what I got when I went to watch this movie instead of sit in traffic.

Horror Rating System

Horror Quality: 8/10

Horror Quality: 7/10

Film Quality: 9/10

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