DIRECTOR: Tim Shechmeister
When a group of friends decide to leave hateful comments on the social media page of Morgan Rose, a teenage girl who has recently committed suicide. They don't think about the repercussions of their actions. Little do the group of friends realise, that if you speak ill of the dead, don't be surprised if you can't take it back.
In today's modern digital age. The most significant way of connecting people together is by way of social media. Long gone are the days of communication where you meet people out and about or in a bar. While that still happens, it almost feels like this lost art. It feels, old-fashioned. With dating apps and social media websites, we find close interaction in other people's lives from a distance and behind a screen. I believe this is now the new normal.
However, social media also comes with a dark side. The world-wide-web is a seriously nasty place. At the press of a button, you can degrade and abuse someone. It's given people the power to use the internet to spew hatred and bile. Can't Take It Back takes that premise and runs with it while adding a supernatural twist to the proceedings. In today's horror climate, it's a premise that we have seen countless times before. I also doubt that it will be the last time that we see such a story.
In the realm of horror, we have seen Unfriended, Friend Request, Ratter, The Den and Chatroom, the list goes on. We also have Searching and Unfriended: Dark Web which are coming soon. This latest sub-genre of cyber horror is all the rage. They have also been done to varying degrees of success. Sadly, Can't Take It Back feels like this adds nothing really new to the sub-genre. The story feels very familiar and at times almost identical to Friends Request.
What this movie does wrong is that it misses a chance to really say something about the downside and pitfalls of using social media. While we get a short scene of two of the girls writing a horrible message on a dead girl's social media page, it is over and done within a matter of seconds. Only one of them really shows any remorse for her actions. While probably realistic of today's internet trolls. You would think that these writers could have touched on this a bit more instead of glossing over it.
The biggest positive that I can throw this movies way is that it never really takes a breather. From the very first moment that the film begins, we are witness to a girl committing suicide. The teenagers that choose to slut shame, bully, and abuse this now dead girl begin to witness her ghost, and she starts to seek her revenge. I can say that the winning element of Can't Take It Back is that the film is never once dull. It may not be a good movie, but this is not a slow-moving story.
While I didn't find Can't Take It Back scary at all. I do believe that the film delivers enough violence and bloodshed that it should keep gorehounds happy. The movie gives us a few bloody kills but what makes them somewhat compelling is that the ghost of the dead girl drives them to commit suicide, just like she had done. Even though I enjoyed her getting revenge, it's a pretty heavy theme to be dealing with. It's basically an eye for an eye, but teenagers taking their own lives is still a pretty horrible thing, regardless if they tormented other people.
When it comes to the acting. I didn't mind the cast here. My biggest issue was Logan Paul. By now, he's more well known for his troubles than he is for being some famous YouTube personality. Having his character playing a massive douche doesn't help. This is the kind of jerk-off that posts footage of a dead body online while visiting a sacred place in Japan and uploads it onto the internet for likes, which funnily enough sort of mirrors his despicable actions in the movie. He shows no remorse for his idiocy and only gives fake apologies.
Lastly, another issue that I had with the movie is that because it dives right into the story. We are barely given any character development. We don't really know all that much about the victim, who is our dead girl. We also don't know anything about the majority of our teenagers. We only know that one has recently moved into the town. She is peer-pressured into leaving a nasty comment, and that's about all there is to it. Minus each character being a typical archetype that is well known in the genre. We get nothing which makes us not care for any of them.
DEATH TOLL: 2
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Gruesome shots of blood and death on television.
- A teenage girl has a nightmare that she is stabbed to death with pencils.
- A teenage girl is seen covered in blood and has slashes up her arms.
- A teenage girl cuts her own throat.
- We see a bathroom covered in blood.
- A teenage girl is scratched by ghosts.
- A teenage boy shoots himself in the head.
- A teenage girl is seen cutting her wrist.
Like Friend Request and Unfriended that came before it. Can't Take It Back doesn't really add anything new to the whole cyber-horror sub-genre. In fact, I think it felt pretty similar to the first of those two mentioned films. So much so, that at times, I was wondering if they'd watched that movie to take notes. While the movie is never boring, it just doesn't feel all that fresh or original. The bloodshed can't save this one. Sadly, I can't take back my time with this one.