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Catfish
Category Indie
Year: 2010
Time: 87 minutes
Production: Hit the Ground Running Films
Director: Ariel Schulman
Cast:
Ariel Schulman, Yaniv Schulman, Henry Joost
MPAA PG13 / UK12A
Our Rating 5/10 - Expected so much, it delivered so little!
Watchability 2/10 - I wouldn't bother again
Contributed by Jordan Taylor
Tag-line Don't let anyone tell you what it is.
 
Plot:

Yaniv 'Nev' Schulman is a keen photographer and is surprised one day to receive a painting from a little girl called Abby who took a liking to his work. In time he builds up a friendship with the talented young artist, helping to sell her paintings from his studio in New York, and on Facebook starts a relationship with her older sister Megan. 

His brother Ariel and flatmate Henry decide to document their friend's online relationship - for no apparent reason than they have a lot of time on their hands and no imagination to think of a better idea; and come to a shocking conclusion that this family are not what they seem to be.

 
So, how does it end?

Nev gets a bad feeling about it all when he realises that Megan has been lying about songs she has written and recorded when he finds them on youtube, sung live by others.

Things are worse when he calls an estate agent to learn that the art gallery the little girl Abby was meant to be moving into is still on the market.

He decides to drive across the US with his friends and confront the family, sensing that he has been led along in some bizarre game. Of course, just to make it clear for people not paying attention, they have a recorded chat with a waitress who also tells a story about people online not being who they say they are.

They jump in the car and first head to Megan's barn - which is deserted. He finds the mail he has sent there directly still in the mailbox.

Next they end up at Megan's family home in that town with the strange name. They rig up Nev with hidden microphones, which pick up sound perfectly without any of the usual background noises or wind resistance, and they decide to take it easy on Angela.

Angela is home and surprised to see them. She has two disabled step-sons, busy at work painting, and a husband - and they don't resemble their profile pics all that much. Conveniently Megan is not home, but they can meet Abby who is at a beach house with a young friend - alone - which is weird.

They go to see the young artist, who passes on that she doesn't paint and hasn't seen Megan for a long time.

In a private chat with Angela while watching Abby ride a horse, she confesses in a slow way that she was the person talking to Nev on Facebook all along. Back at her house, we then hear that Megan is at a place for alcoholics, and it was Angela who pretended to be her daughter on the phone. Surprisingly, Nev doesn't seem all that shocked or close to vomiting everywhere when hearing this.

Vince, the husband, says that he was pleased Angela had a Facebook friend and someone who was interested in her paintings. He then tells a story about catfish - which is where the movie gets the title.

Angela soon lets on about all the other fake Facebook profiles she made to keep the story alive, while she sketches a patient Nev. The pictures of Megan are apparently those of a distant cousin.

The lads say their goodbyes and leave to go back to New York.

The ending titles - we find out that one of the disabled twins has since died, that Angela does not have breast cancer, that Megan is not in rehab and instead has just left home, that the girl in the Megan pictures was not a family friend but a model with a portfolio online, that Angela has decided to take her art hobby more seriously, and that she has deleted her other Facebook profiles.   Nev showered for three weeks straight.

 
Comments

So is it real?  About as real as 'Cloverfield' was.  Plus there's a little clue in that JJ Abrams' name is hidden away in the credits too.

'Don't let anyone tell you what it is' - that's the tagline. Because when you find out, you won't be bothered about watching it.  It's not scary - that scene in the trailer with the deserted barn lasts for a few seconds and, well, is just a deserted barn.

In the DVD extras they hold a long and boring interview with the 3 guys asking each other questions and pleading to us that it's all real - but it'll be pretty much like the guys in the army who are trained to beat Lie Detector tests -- either they are answering the questions "in character" and so can say what they want -- or it's loosely based on a true story that happened to them, although not of course the filmed version we see with convenient camera angles, great sound, super slick editing and a 'star' in Angela who happens to be a good actress and never once stares directly into the camera lens.

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