Friday Movie Blog: Is Catfish Malicious Or Just Sad?

Plus don't forget to tell me about the scariest movie you've ever seen!

Everywhere I go, I see dead people.

And zombies. And ghosts. And mutants. And scary, gynecologist twins.

Because I’m working on the countdown of the 31 Scariest Movies for October (have you told me your thoughts on the scariest movie of all time, yet?), I have been knee-deep in horror flicks. Within the last seven days, I have watched [REC], The Other, The Fly, Dead Ringers, Session 9, Hellraiser, Serpent and the Rainbow, The Thing, and Jacob’s Ladder. I attended a screening of the God-help-you-if-you’re-claustrophobic Buried. I re-watched The Sixth Sense and The Others. Tonight I’m watching The Changeling.[SIGNUP]

Many of these were ones I had always wanted to see. Others were ones that I swore I would never see, but had to once someone suggested it. (However, I still refuse to see Saw. I know, I know! The ending makes the movie; but I already know the ending!)

As my brain (my delicious, delicious brain … mhmmm) is so embroiled with scary movies, I expect everything to have a horror element. (During the season premiere of Modern Family, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the rusty station wagon came alive and started eating everyone.)

As I sat and watched Catfish, I just knew some vicious serial killer — probably dressed as a clown — was waiting around each corner. And while I did have to cover the screen with my hand at one point, Catfish for the most part is not scary. It’s tech-obsessed and really, really sad.

The documentary chronicles New York photographer Nev Schulman’s online friendship with Abby, an eight-year-old Michigan artist, her mother, and the burgeoning relationship with Abby’s older half-sister, Megan. As the relationship between Nev and Megan becomes more serious and intimate, Nev (with his director brother Ariel Schulman and director friend Henry Joost) begins to have doubts. As the trio starts doing investigation (all involving YouTube, Google, GoogleMap searches on MacBooks and iPhones), questions arise around Megan’s true identity.

They decide to take a road trip to find out.

As I do not want to spoil anything in this movie, I am limited by what I can say here. What I can say is that this clunky documentary has somehow found a perfect balance between vanity and compassion. On the one hand, the story is a perfect demonstration of today’s obsession with technology and online presentation of self. On the other, it is a somewhat malicious, voyeuristic glimpse into the lives of truly lonely people.

While flawed in many ways, Catfish feels “of the time.” It so perfectly captures the dichotomous lives we lead — our offline and online personalities — that the problems in filmmaking are overlooked, if not forgotten.

Go see this film. I want to hear what everyone thinks. Specifically, do you agree with the filmmakers when they say that the filming is “not malicious; it’s just sad.”? Do you question the authenticity of the story?

Let me know. But no spoilers! (In theaters.)

My Grade: A-

To find any Aaron Mettey movie review from 2010, click here.