In the film, I-LIVED, despite graduating from Standford, Josh Fosse has since fell on hard times. Not only has he recently broke up with his girlfriend, his bills are past due, not to mention that he has his landlord breathing down his neck, for non-payment of rent. With no job, Josh has hopes to some day make it big in the world of technology. And so, he creates a Youtube channel that he calls "J-Tech". On J-Tech, Josh creates a series of online videos, in which he reviews various phone apps. From generic self help apps, to kitschy "alien brain scan" novelty apps, Josh welcomes it all. One of his latest reviews takes a look at a new app called, "I-Lived". This rather mysterious app promises to ensure that the user will achieve and fulfill any desire that they wish. But there is a catch. The user must first complete a list of missions given to them by the app, and they must record themselves doing so. Josh gives "I-Lived" a try, by telling the app that he wishes to have "6 pack" abs. After successfully completing the missions given to him, Josh notes that there is no change to his physique. And with this in mind, Josh writes off the application, giving it a rating of 2 out of 5 stars. From here, Josh had pretty much forgotten about I-Lived, that is until one night, he is left lonely at the bar, as a result of his date not showing up. Still logged on with the app, the app, singles out a girl named Greta, with instructions on what to do, in order to impress her. After buying her a drink, Josh and Greta hit it off quite well. Following the night at the bar, seeing as he attributes all of the night's success, solely to "I-Lived", Josh once again takes to the app, with a follow up request. Since it went so well with her the following night, Josh proceeds to ask the app to make Greta his girlfriend. It agrees, but at course he must complete a series of video recorded tasks, which he must then upload, as per the ruled. Tasks which include things such as doing good deeds, cooking, and even getting tattoos(because it's said that Greta loves "bad boys"). When the app subsequently comes through for him, he can't believe it. With his life now looking up, Josh furthers the trend, as he wishes to increase his Youtube viewership to 8 million strong. The wish leads to him receiving a job offer from a UK company, who look to make him the host of a tech show, one, that coincidently serves around 8 million viewers. At this point, with all of his wildest dreams coming true, Josh feels as though he could do no wrong. However....he is dead wrong. Things begin to go downhill, just as he receives the said job offer. When it appears that he had received the said offer, without the help of I-Lived, because he had failed to complete all of the missions given, Josh simply signs off from the app, deciding to go it alone. However, as to be predicted, almost at the very moment that he disconnects from the app, so do his life and good fortune. All things bad begin to happen; Greta leaves him, his mom's cancer comes back, and so on. So, in a panic, Josh soon takes to the app, believing, that as it did before, would solve all of his problems. Initially, that is the case, however this time around, things are very different. With each new wish, the missions become more dark and disturbing, acts ranging from kidnapping and murder. And while they are acts unfathomable to Josh, it would seem that he must comply in order to save his life.
With technology now such a huge part of our everyday lives, it's no surprise that film's such as I-LIVED are coming along. Written and directed by Franck Khalfoun, I-LIVED takes to the wide world of phone apps, and capitalizes on the obsession of the technology for some. Taking a page from films such as LIMITLESS, in which a character uses something, which enables them to have everything that they desire. I-LIVED turns its focus to a character named Josh Fosse, who is an app reviewer on Youtube. When he gives a second chance to an app that he had previously canned on his show, it gives him seemingly endless possibilities. He begins to use it obsessively, to get him a range of things. From the love of a girl, to job offers, and a cure for his Cancer-stricken mother, Josh seems to have it all now, thanks to the app called "I-Lived". But in a classic display of one having "too much of a good thing", we watch as Josh's life spirals downward as he begins to once again lose it all.
I-LIVED presents to us a rather daring concept, that isn't too much removed from the truth. While the overall story and outcome of the film is purely fictitious, the portrayal of obsession and greed, found within, is very real. It is pretty much a well disguised commentary on the current state of technology, and how we use it. The idea behind I-LIVED is one of great potential. This could have been a great film, if done right. Unfortunately, I found the film's overall execution to be fairly weak. My main complaint is that we the viewer never really connect to the film's main character, Josh Fosse, although, of course, we should. Actor Jeremiah Watkins' portrayal of Josh is just not likable. He's meant to be some kind of hip Internet sensation, but like many of his real life counterparts, he's super annoying. While I do know that the intention was for us to connect to him emotionally, to be honest, I just couldn't. Josh just becomes more and more annoying as the film moves along. And of course, since I never really cared for Josh, my interest in the entire picture, was very limited. While the story is ok in itself, when it came to what would become of Josh in the end, I could not have cared less. The same could be said for the film's supporting characters/villains, who along with Josh, offer little help for the film.
With this film, Khalfoun(who had previously blessed us with his most excellent remake of MANIAC, and even before that, a great film in P2) is onto an idea that could make for a potentially great film, both in its content, and social commentary-wise. However, as is, I-LIVED is a film that just under-performs in just about every aspect. The story really has no depth, it's main character, is annoying, and its villains are not in the least bit imposing. Not exactly what i'd call a recipe for a good film.
5/10 The film's soundtrack, along with the standard suspense scoring, features various tracks, ranging from techno to Rock. A few of the tracks featured in the film are actually pretty good.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
As I said, I-LIVED presents a great story, which plays up the current state of technology, and what effect it has on people. But unfortunately, I just could never fully commit myself to the film. I-LIVE's biggest problem is the fact that it centers around a character that we just never truly care about. It's key to have a character, or characters that a viewer will enjoy watching - good or bad. But here, Josh is just an annoying little poser dweeb. How are we supposed to like him? I for one, couldn't wait for this one to end.
This film is available on Video on Demand now, and will be on DVD on August 11, 2015