Cyberbully (2011)

dir. Charles Binamé

Where to even start with Cyberbully? It demonstrably believes itself to be a feature-length PSA, one which tugs at the heartstrings and imparts a valuable lesson. That lesson? Cyberbullying is bad. The thing with Cyberbully is, as it features vapid teenagers catfishing and slinging insults on some Facebook rip-off called Cliquesters, it has the feel of a much older movie. It’s like they only just discovered that the internet exists, and Cyberbully was the inaugural attempt to let everyone know that teenagers can be terrible online. In 2011. Thus it’s all incredibly basic and sanitised. The teenagers are cruel to each other, but it’s all so formulaic that it’s difficult to feel much sympathy. It’s just copied-and-pasted “slut”s and “whore”s strewn about the victim’s timeline. Mean, but underwhelming. Despite the keen intent to explore hard-hitting subject matter, it manages to restrict any genuine impact by lazy storytelling choices such as: a girl struggling with her absent father; a peripheral gay friend whose sexuality is merely used as a device to earn sympathy points; the climactic suicide attempt being thwarted by the protagonist’s inability to take a cap off a bottle. Because God forbid a hard-hitting film about cyberbullying dare to explore what the real-world consequences could be.

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