Technology has changed the world in many ways, and we have learned how to adapt to these changes. Horror films had to make changes to keep current with cell phones, websites, social medias, as well.
I am always interested to see how filmmakers include modern technology into films. The creators behind FeardotCom, Friend Request (read our review here), interactive personalized horror experience Take This Lollipop, Countdown, and more recently, Shudder’s Host (read our review here) have effectively woven technology into their films. With the debut of more and more apps, we all have our cell phones practically glued to our hands. I always want to check out these films, so when Shall We Play? popped up in my radar for BITS 2020, I wanted to give it a watch without hesitation. What did I think? Read on to find out!
Shall We Play? Synopsis:
A troubled teenage girl downloads a new app, ‘Shall We Play?,’ in an attempt to heal her past, but unknowingly, the app possesses her into the game.
Shall We Play? is directed by Ann Forry and co-written by Forry and Emma Raine Walker. The film stars Jessica McLeod (The Hollow Child 2017), Matreya Scarrwener (Imaginary Mary TV series), Michelle Creber (My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic TV series), and Dolores Drake.
As a whole, I felt Shall We Play? is watchable. It’s not terrible but it’s not outstanding, either. The film doesn’t really add anything new or original to the genre. The story is about troubled teenager Stacy, who is well-played by Matreya Scarrwener. She is having disturbing dreams and is seeing a therapist to work through her past. We begin to learn the correlation of Stacy’s nightmares, her troubled past, and follow her as she chooses a Ouija board-type app Shall We Play? over her therapist to work through her issues.
Stacy has a love interest, who of course ends up being a bad boy. He and his friends basically slut shame the poor girl, and I do appreciate the attention to that relevant topic in the film. It is an awkward enough scene to get the point across.
The rest of the film unfolds at a good pace. It did keep my interest and I was keen on the concept and the usage of the Shall We Play? app. The dream sequences are menacing, and I definitely enjoyed those. They include two girls that kind of reminded me of the Grady twins in The Shining. These were the best part of the movie, in my opinion.
The performances of the younger actors are strong here. However, I believe the characters are not completely authentic to today’s youth. The dialogue and the actions didn’t seem to be teenage-like at times. I found myself saying, “Really?” quite often during those scenes. It doesn’t take too much away from the film, but it did make me embarrassed for the characters.
The adults in this film—other than Grandma Betty—were obnoxious and unhelpful to the plot. Usually when the teenagers are the focus of the story, they don’t put as much focus on the grownups. The plot also relies on verbal exposition, finding out information from dialogue and conversations as opposed to actions.
There are some tense scenes and most of those are of the dreams Stacy had. I was pleased with the ending. While it is formulaic and cliche, it is still devilishly fun.
Final Thoughts On Shall We Play?
While it is predictable and adds nothing new to horror, I recommend Shall We Play? as a one time watch.