By David Dent
Lily, Em, Sarah and Bex are uber popular mega snarky high school students in Salem, Massachusetts (yes, the town where the witch trials took place – read on) who are so of and part of the zeitgeist that they have attained a level of unreality. With social media apps underpinning every aspect of their daily lives, it’s a matter of seconds before details of anti-gay rights voting town mayor’s cross dressing activities spread like wildfire among them.
But this is just the thin end of the wedge – the hacking spreads across campus, implicating Lily in her own exposure in a nude selfie scandal with an older man, much to the horror of her boyfriend. The furore over the scandals gathers pace, the townspeople mask and arm themselves, becoming a vigilante force out for anyone’s blood, until the girls take matters into their own hands and, clad in matching red raincoats and brandishing weapons (a look fashioned from their exposure to Japanese revenge movies on TV) they regain their status by hook or by crook.
Assassination Nation doesn’t so much unfold its satirical story as flip a metaphorical middle finger to the audience, with a kind of ‘take it on our terms or not at all’ approach that encompasses sideswipes at Trump’s USA, the logical end game of a social media obsessed nation, and fear of the ‘other.’
But is it any good? Well it’s certainly noisy, and it’s so tightly edited it’s never less than exhilarating to watch, but the suburban excess parody has already been done with movies like The Purge, which didn’t need diatribes from its leads to get its point across.
It doesn’t help that there isn’t one likable character in the movie, and while the mash up of styles is definitely clever – teen comedy, suburban satire, slasher movie, and a whole load of other influences – it’s ultimately neither fish nor fowl, and at one hour and fifty minutes, is a rather drawn out beast to boot.
Assassination Nation is out in cinemas now.