DON'T CLICK (2020)

Don't Click.jpg

Studio:     Gravitas Ventures
Director:    G-Hey Kim
Writer:     Courtney Ellum
Producer:  George Mihalka
Stars:     Valter Skarsgard, Mark Koufos, Catherine Howard, Geoff Mays

Review Score:



An underground BDSM website opens a supernatural portal to purgatory where two friends are tortured by vengeful entities.



Man, Valter sure did draw the short straw among the four Skarsgard brothers who became actors, didn¡¯t he? Alexander broke big with his star-making role on HBO¡¯s ¡°True Blood.¡± Bill reshaped Pennywise¡¯s iconic image across two chapters of ¡°It.¡± Gustaf made his mark via popular shows such as ¡°Vikings¡± and ¡°Westworld.¡± Meanwhile, poor Valter slums it in some Poor Man¡¯s ¡°Hellraiser¡± knockoff that looks like it was filmed in a studio apartment for the price of an Arby¡¯s roast beef sandwich.

¡°Don¡¯t Click¡± is based on a short film. That fact becomes painfully apparent quickly, as the glacial pace wheezes to prolong a paper-thin plot. Rarely does a brief 75-minute runtime struggle this much to find something interesting to fill it. Yet here we are with a classic case of a simple concept stretched to a length 10x longer than it reasonably needs to be.

College kid Zane has an unhealthy obsession with torture porn. Not ¡°Saw¡± or ¡°Hostel¡± sequels. His kink is actual, underground BDSM that borders on snuff, and in this instance goes far enough to cross that line.

Valter Skarsgard plays Josh, a natural nice guy who is Zane¡¯s best friend. One night, Josh comes home to an unusually empty apartment. Josh notices Zane left his laptop open on ¡°Beat a Slut¡± (I¡¯d bet dollars to donuts it had to be .net because .com is probably taken in real life), a highly questionable website where masked men mutilate captive women. Moments after peeking at a few garbled frames of footage, Josh falls into a trance. When he wakes up, Josh finds himself in a dreamy purgatory, which suspiciously resembles an empty cellar in some crewmember¡¯s home.

Since ¡°Don¡¯t Click¡± apparently couldn¡¯t come up with a couple bucks to depict this supernatural world with any sort of set dressing, colored filters, or visual effects, the movie merely makes these ¡®nightmare¡¯ scenes stutter instead. Picture a video game where the framerate suddenly drops from 60 to 20fps. You¡¯re liable to think playback started skipping because it seems like someone removed every other frame, except this herky-jerky footage still runs at normal speed.

In whatever weird realm this is supposed to be, Josh encounters a silent man in a suit sporting a bad bald cap decorated with bloody handprints, a ghostly woman, and Zane with his mouth sewn shut. The guy with wonky wounds possesses Josh so he can force him to torture Zane. The phantom lady sometimes observes.

Thus begins Josh¡¯s ping-ponging between eerie encounters and sudden returns to reality. Josh also remembers several flashbacks along the way while fighting to figure out what is happening and why. Hint: The moral of the movie¡¯s story is ¡°don¡¯t watch torture porn.¡±

These in-between scenes are where ¡°Don¡¯t Click¡± digs its feet deep before dragging them until the film hits feature length. One flashback shows Josh and Zane when they first became roommates. They put up posters, unpack boxes, and kibbitz about college for four full minutes. When they host a party montage later, we get what feels like an eternity of a garage band playing live music. Turns out the overlong performance runs under two minutes, though I would have sworn it was at least double that. The point is, such sequences are dull as dirt. Skeezy scenes of butchered breasts, severed penises, and a man in a leather mask funneling brown water down a bound woman¡¯s throat aren¡¯t any better.

Valter Skarsgard does his relative best. His is a dominantly physical role that tasks him to move like a robot Frankenstein being mildly zapped with electricity to simulate possession. His epileptic clomping looks ridiculous, yet Skarsgard seems to say, ¡°well, I willingly signed up to do this so I may as well put in the effort.¡± I sincerely hope better projects await Valter Skarsgard in his future. I mean, they can¡¯t get worse than a negligible DTV cheapie like ¡°Don¡¯t Click.¡±

The movie¡¯s title doubles as a glib review. The movie¡¯s tagline does too. ¡°Some Things You Can¡¯t Unsee.¡± ¡°Don¡¯t Click¡± is one of those things, although you¡¯ll desperately wish it weren¡¯t.

Review Score: 25