Here Are Some Great Movies About a Social Medium

Love it or hate it, social mediums have completely taken over our culture, even infiltrating and inspiring a myriad of thrillers, comedies, documentaries, and horror flicks. Some of the best and most intriguing movies of the past 15 years depict the benefits and downfalls of such interactive technologies and digital channels, showcasing a wide array of thought-provoking, dramatic, and even terrifying tales. Hollywood’s studios are not afraid to deep dive into all aspects of social media and its domino-like effect, oftentimes yielding impressive and astute results.

TV anthologies like Black Mirror have taken the spotlight in this regard, but movies about social media and digital platforms can be exciting and eye-opening for audiences, shedding a light on how new technology is changing our society (for better or for worse). The cinema fully embraces stories regarding these mediums, making viewers laugh, gasp, and question its profound impact on the lives and future of our world. Stranger Things favorite Joe Keery appears as a murderous rideshare driver seeking internet fame in the comedy horror Spree, while Jesse Eisenberg famously portrayed Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg in the Academy Award-winning drama every entrepreneur should watch, The Social Network. Let’s take a look at some great movies about social mediums.

8 Spree

RLJE Films

Stranger Things favorite Joe Keery headlines the 2020 comedy horror flick Spree, portraying a social media obsessed rideshare driver who, in his attempts to achieve internet fame, livestreams himself murder his passengers. The gonzo-style satire was directed by Eugene Kotlyarenko, who teamed up with Gene McHugh for the screenplay with the pair wanting to depict modern narcissism and our desire with being validated through an online presence.

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He told MovieMaker, I felt like this was turning us all into, you know, kind of desperate, potentially monstrous beings. And so I thought I would make fun of that and take it to kind of the most horrific place it could go, which is the movie Spree. ” For his performance, Keery worked closely with the director to understand his character, even filming in-character social media posts like unboxings, shopping trips and vape reviews as well as watching content from influencers on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

7 Tragedy Girls

The titular Tragedy Girls in punk makeup
Gunpowder & Sky

Tyler MacIntyre’s 2017 Comedy Horror Movie Tragedy Girls follows teenage crime reporters Sadie and McKayla as they pursue a crazed serial killer, managing to capture the dangerous maniac and hold him hostage. The crafty duo decide that the best way to elevate their social media statuses is to commit the murders themselves, forever immortalizing them as modern horror legends. The clever movie is an entertaining and dark twist on the slasher genre, and features dynamite performances by its eccentric leads Alexandra Shipp and Brianna Hildebrand, who gleefully send their small mid-western town into a terrified frenzy.

Tragedy Girls garnered positive reviews upon its release, with many appreciating the campy and playful tone of the picture and the scene-stealing Shipp and Hildebrand. Austin Chronicle commended the slasher, writing, “It’s a ridiculous setup, but the action embraces the silliness for a sick, slick satire, as the girls get bloodier and more gruesomely creative to get their moment of fame.”

6 Ingrid Goes West

Elizabeth Olsen and Aubrey Plaza make the peace sign

The delightfully strange Aubrey Plaza teams up with Marvel darling Elizabeth Olsen for the 2017 dark comedy drama Ingrid Goes West, which follows unhinged social media stalker Ingrid Thorburn (Plaza) as she moves to Los Angeles in order to ingratiate herself in the life of her Instagram idol Taylor Sloane (Olsen), a famous socialite.

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The film is an insightful look at social media superficiality and showcases the perceived perks and pitfalls of it, with director Matt Spicer score Entertainment Weekly, “I do not hate social media! It’s here to stay. It’s part of our lives, but it’s definitely a double-edged sword. The movie was our way of working out our own conflicting feelings about it and wanting to show both versions. ” Ingrid Goes West premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award and was met with universal acclaim.

5 A Simple Favor

Kendrick photographs Blake Lively in the park

The immensely talented Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively star in the 2018 dark comedy crime thriller A Simple Favor, centering on single mother and small town vlogger Stephanie, who befriends the mysterious and glamorous fellow mom Emily. When the PR fashion maven disappears, Stephanie takes it upon herself to figure out what happened to her secretive new friend. The film is based on the Darcey Bell novel of the same name, and packed full of shocking twists you do not see coming that will leave audiences on the edge of their seats.

Both Kendrick and Lively dazzle as the status-craving women, serving up some seriously dominating performances in the mommy noir flick. A Simple Favor proved to be a hit with both critics and audiences alike, grossing over $ 90 million and receiving praise for the epic twists and talent of the compelling leads. Variety wrote, “The film feels a lot like the Serge Gainsbourg number Stephanie dances to in the kitchen; jazzy, a little sleazy, and worth a cult following. ”

4 Unfriended

A phone notification rings on an internet screen in Unfriended
Universal Pictures

2015’s supernatural horror flick Unfriended is the first feature film to be set entirely on a computer screen, and follows a group of high school students in a Skype conversation who become haunted by a menacing and malevolent force using the account of their dead friend. The girls believe it’s just an elaborate prank, until the mysterious presence starts revealing their darkest secrets and quickly realizes the spirit is otherworldly and wants them dead.

The idea may have been done better in one of the great COVID films, Host, but the originality of this original makes it important. Director Leo Gabriadze was attracted to the project as it focused on the theme of bullying, noting that the nature of bullying had changed since he was in school, as the internet allowed the act to continue even after school hours. Unfriended is an innovative and sharp take on the classic horror genre, and its box office success led to its follow-up, a stand-alone sequel entitled Unfriended: Dark Web.

3 The Social Network

Eisenberg chewing a pen while on the laptop in The Social Network
Sony Pictures Releasing

Portraying the founding and epic rise of the social media juggernaut Facebook, David Fincher’s 2010 biographical drama The Social Network focuses on Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg as he begins work on the website sensation that would take the world by storm. Featuring the brilliant Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg and the additional talent of Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, and Armie Hammer, the film depicts the media mogul’s unprecedented success that ultimately leads to both personal and legal complications.

The David Fincher movie is based on author Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaire, and neither Zuckerberg nor any Facebook staff were involved in the conceptualization of the project. The Social Network was a massive commercial and critical success, winning three Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay, and being chosen by the National Board of Review as the best film of 2010.

2 Searching

John Cho on the internet screen in Searching
Sony Pictures Releasing

The talented John Cho made history by appearing in the 2018 mystery thriller Searching, becoming the first Asian-American actor to headline a mainstream Hollywood thriller. The chilling movie follows a father in a desperate search to find his missing 16-year-old daughter, and with the help of a police detective uses her laptop to try and find clues that can lead to her whereabouts.

Cho was initially hesitant to take on the role of David Kim because he felt that the concept of the movie seen entirely through TV, computer, and phone screens was not feasible but changed his mind when he understood the methods of filming and director Aneesh Chaganty’s vision . Searching was shot on various devices including GoPro, drone, news helicopters, mini dv cameras and a webcam, with Chaganty’s iPhone serving as the main camera. The thriller had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and was heralded for its visual presentation, direction, acting and unpredictable storyline; a sequel is currently in the works.

1 The Social Dilemma

A teen on his phone in The Social Dilemma

Jeff Orlowski’s 2020 docudrama The Social Dilemma examines how social media’s design nurtures an addiction, spreads conspiracy theories and disinformation, and heavily manipulates people’s views, behavior, and emotions in order to maximize profit. The eye-opening documentary on Netflix also deep dives into the issue of social media’s effect on mental health, such as for adolescents and how it attributes to rising teen suicide rates.

Orlowski’s brutally honest and critical picture interviews employees, executives, and experts from top tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, who all discuss in detail how such platforms have caused negative sociopolitical and cultural consequences. The Social Dilemma premiered at the Sundance Film Festival before becoming available on the streaming giant Netflix, and was subsequently viewed by 38 million households within its first 28 days of release. Of course, Facebook blasted the film as sensationalisticbut its impact continues.

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