Review by Jen Bush
Written and Directed by Shranjay Arora
Co-written, Produced and Supervised by Seda Anbarci
Starring: Tyler Adkins as Sam, Harshraj Chauhan as Raanj, Chloe Breen as Lina and Sandy Moeiling as Dalphine
The lines between the gatekeepers have become blurred. Nowadays, anyone can be a delivery person without working for a restaurant, a driver without being associated with a car service company or a person who achieves celebrity status solely based on internet views and subscribers. Sam is an arrogant internet sensation. He plays a prank game called Spotted where he chooses random people and throws a pie in their face. He then declares, “you’ve been spotted!” as his audience watches. Incredulously, this racks up thousands of views online and has six million subscribers. He achieves cult statis with his antics. Sam goes on a vacation with his girlfriend Lina and his best friend Ranj. This is where things get interesting. I thought to myself, this is a stereotypical formulaic horror movie. A cabin in the woods, a beautiful mysterious hostess who answers the door wearing flowing attire holding a candlelit lantern and the main character going out for a smoke in the woods alone. I was certain that a generic slasher type boogeyman was going to apply some serious gore to killing Sam and then proceed to pick the others off one by one. It turned out; this hypothesis was completely inaccurate. The plot twisted in a totally different direction which I will not ruin for you.
Shranjay Arora and Seda Anbarci team up once again for Spotted. Shranjay Arora wrote and directed Proxy, an excellent Sci-fi shortfor which Seda Anbarci wrote the screen play. For Spotted, once again Shranjay Arora writes and directs while Seda Anbarci co-writes, produces and supervises. They make a good and effective artistic team wisely working again with the talented actors from Proxy.
Spotted is a social commentary that looks at how viral influencers gain momentum with viewers and ultimately wield power over them. The story is timely and relatable. Pranks are popular on the internet. It would appeal to a younger crowd who likely follow multiple influencers on social media. Sam and his sidekick Ranj are portrayed as immature which is consistent with their characters. The strength in the writing was making the audience believe one thing and then taking the film in an unforeseen direction.
The cast was excellent. Tyler Adkins was a strong lead as Sam. He crafted a charming, charismatic and arrogant character and was able to use his skills to infuse subtle insecurities. Having had the advantage of seeing the fine job that Harshraj Chauhan and Chloe Breen did in Proxy, it was great to see them play two completely different characters with equal skill. Sandy Moeling was the consummate beautiful mysterious woman. She portrayed Dalphine with grace and allure. Muk Cheung deserves a mention for wonderful cinematography. The lighting and locations were ideal. The set decorations by Heaven Zhao were attention grabbing. Spotted was spot on!