Demonstrates that when independent filmmaking meets the generation that is constantly filming, both good and bad things can come from it.
“Found footage” has now cemented itself has a sub-genre of horror, thanks to The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, and the millions of dollars similar films to them rank in. What is not so common is a film using found footage outside the horror category, which is where Andrew Neel’s King Kelly film cascades far away from. Being that the films perspective is a young woman from the upcoming Generation Y, it only makes sense that it is shot exclusively using iPhones. It is not the first to film using this method, but it is certainly a trend that will only increase exponentially.
King Kelly is not for the easily offended and very opening scene makes that very clear. A (presumably) eighteen year-old girl named Kelly (Louisa Krause) pleasures herself on a webcam which is broadcasted to thousands of unknown watchers. Comments and well as digital coins come pouring in as she begins to climax. When she finishes, the opening credits roll while reactions to the video are conveyed via animated gifs and emoticons on a page that resembles the near-extinct MySpace page.
From there a whirlwind of hyperbolic events occur that has her chasing down her ex-boyfriend’s vehicle for the drugs she was supposed to transport. Kelly demands her best friend Jordan (Libby Woodbridge) to drive her around to find that car. She eventually exhausts her options and is forced to enlist the aid of an unlikely person.
Thankfully, King Kelly takes some unexpected turns making the outwardly frivolous plotline come full circle by its conclusion. There is no obvious indication that Kelly’s character ever fully develops out of her narcissist ways. Perhaps nothing was learned from what she encounters. But watching this young blonde pose next to a cardboard cut-out of a half-naked blonde as if she was looking up to her, provides enough irony to make it both concerning and becoming at the same time. This kind of juxtaposition is exactly what the film is all about. It showcases a superficial girl who is the authority in her own online kingdom, while at the same time a satire on the always-on generation.
The film is not meant to be taken too seriously, and given just how self-indulgent the lead character is, I am confident you are not even supposed to like her. Imagine an even raunchier Jenna Marbles having a camera with her at all times, recording her every move, including X-Rated portions. The cleverness relies mostly on the gimmicky film technique that is surprisingly effective.
King Kelly is blatantly offensive, utterly outrageous, incredibly scandalous, but it is also full of ambition and enthusiasm. While it may be a slight stretch to call the film groundbreaking, it is not far from it, even if the concept outweighs the execution. The film demonstrates that when independent filmmaking meets the generation that is constantly filming, both good and bad things can come from it. At certain times it harasses you enough to make it hard to watch. But sometimes obscene things can be intriguing; welcome to being a human.