Social media! It’s murder!
That seems to be the main message behind Instapsycho, a Lifetime film that is designed to appeal to the fear of every mother who worries that her daughter is spending too much time online. It takes place at a high school divided by social media. Who do you follow? Who do you listen to? Who gets your likes and your retweets and your shares? Is it Sasha (Kara Royster), who is rich and popular and who seems to have her entire life ahead of her? Or is it Kelly (Makenzie Vega), who dresses in all black and has a sarcastic wit and who owns a #NoFilters t-shirt?
Me, I would probably follow Kelly because, when I was in high school, I used to dress in all black and I wrote a lot of emo poetry and I tended to toss out random quotes from books that I hadn’t read, all in an effort to make myself seem even smarter than I was. That said, I don’t think that I would be totally supportive of some of the things that Kelly does to win more followers.
For instance, Kelly poisons her stepfather and then does a video about suicide awareness, one that goes viral and wins her a lot of new fans. And it’s true that Kelly’s stepfather was a total perv who totally deserved to die but still, I don’t know if I would risk getting sent to prison for murder just to go viral. I know a lot of people disagree with me on that but …. no, no murders for me.
Of course, Sasha remains a threat to Kelly. “She’s using your own hashtag against you!” someone announces at one point. Even after Kelly manages to get all the cheerleaders to do a special “You suck, Sasha” cheer during lunch, it still appears that Kelly might need to do something extra to hold onto her social media crown. Fortunately, Kelly has plenty of other friends she could kill.
That’s bad news for Maddie (Laura Wiggins), who is Kelly’s best friend. Maddie’s a bit disturbed by Kelly’s new evil side but you have to do what you have to do….
As I said at the start of this review, InstaPsycho is specifically designed to appeal to mothers who, when they’re not watching Lifetime movies, are worrying about what their children are doing online. This is a good example of a “Social Media is the Devil” type of film but it never descends into Reefer Madness territory, largely because social media actually is the devil. Plus — and this is key — InstaPsycho actually has a sense of humor about itself. It may be campy but it’s deliberately campy.
I loved Makenzie Vega’s devilish performance as Kelly. She rips through the film like a tornado and it’s a lot of fun to watch. In fact, despite the film’s warnings about what too much social media does to people, you actually kind of find yourself hoping the best for Kelly. When she points out that her online life is the only thing that she basically has, she does have a point. Though she may have taken things a bit too far by killing people, it’s hard not to have a little bit of sympathy for her.
InstaPsycho! Watch it the next time you’re tempted to post or like something just for the clout.