Kids these days! What with the texting and Snapchatting and Instagraming and all that jazz, noses permanently stuck in a phone’s screen and away from the “real world.” But what happens when someone’s online existence crashes into their offline world? What happens when an entire town needs to deal with that? Such is the central question of Sam Levinson’s Sundance hit “Assassination Nation,” which follows a tiny town on the edge of absolute madness, all thanks to the deeds of one wily hacker.
It starts with bigwigs — the high school principal, the mayor, public figures who should perhaps safeguard their more nefarious online dealings with care — all exposed to their fellow citizens via their supposedly secret online affairs. Then, it’s everyone, including some of the town’s coolest teens, including high school senior Lily and her friends, who have their own secrets to spare. And yes, it’s all absolutely bonkers, as a gory, bloody new red band trailer for the social satire gleefully shows off.
In his B- review out of Sundance, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn described the movie as “the most aggressive high-school movie in film history” and one that “intends to make an assaultive statement on the lunacy incited by the first online generation, [with] every scene feels like it’s reaching for a big idea (the press notes begin by quoting Susan Sontag), and while the sprawling mayhem has its moments, the movie works best when tethered to the real world.”
The film stars Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, and Abra as the foursome at the center of everything, along with supporting turns from Anika Noni Rose, Colman Domingo, Maude Apatow, Bill Skarsgård, Joel McHale, and Bella Thorne.
NEON and and the Russo Brothers’ AGBO bought “Assassination Nation” for $10 million out of its Midnight section Sundance premiere, and will open the movie in theaters on September 21. Check out the film’s new red band trailer below.