Charlotte’s Net – By James Dobbins Jones – Film Review

This is a film that takes the found footage genre to a whole new level. Opening with a cheesy ad from 80s style Jamieson family as they introduce their series of “A Kid’s Guide to the Net” in a time when the internet is something brand new and mysterious, and this exciting film throws intentional, well-utilized style at us immediately, gripping us in!

Charlotte's Net by James Dobbins Jones - Film Review

 The film then takes a turn. We are taken to a violent clip of a young man being beaten up. When one of the two friends who are watching walks away, we hear the one filming tell him that this is the material that will go viral, getting lots of views and likes, ultimately making him money. 

As the film progresses, we see several encounters between these two friends. The person who most often films spends his time on the dark web, but his friend is reluctant to look at anything on there. When he does, he becomes upset by what he sees. 

Charlotte's Net by James Dobbins Jones - Film Review

The relationship between these two characters feels realistic and methodically written, as they argue with one another and also play pranks on each other, as well as the dynamic with the inevitable darkness.
But they feel like true friends throughout all of this, making the film all the more effectively engaging. 

We are exposed to violent and sexually explicit videos throughout the film – the sort of videos it is implied that the boys are watching. This culturally-relevant idea of getting “lots of views” is continuously brought up – with references to well-known content and platforms such as Lad Bible. The acting from both boys is fantastic – with both of them portraying completely different characters. The dialogue is convincing, feeling like real conversation that two boys would have together. 

Charlotte's Net by James Dobbins Jones - Film Review

The story progresses well, and we see tension grow between the boys as there is more pressure to watch disturbing content. The conversations between them is what brings us in and tells the story as we see their contrasting reactions to what is happening. We are shown rather than told what is really occurring within this story. The camera work is purposely low quality, with awkward shots and some camera glitches coming through, and it’s used well. Both of these elements add to the authentic feel of the film.

Charlotte's Net by James Dobbins Jones - Film Review

This  film does a great job of showing the expectation vs reality side of using the internet – with the Jamieson family popping up from time to time with a new tip in their brightly coloured settings and over the top smiles to the dark room in which the two boys spend most of their time. Surrounded by mess and staring mindlessly at the screen shows the reality in terms of the “horrific side” of how the internet is often used today. Most of the videos that we see have very little or no background music and this adds to the controlled, bleak and strategically atmospheric feel of the film. 

Charlotte's Net by James Dobbins Jones - Film Review

This is not for the faint hearted – with extreme violence and sexually explicit content throughout. However, if you want a film that will have you on the edge of your seat in all sorts of creative and amazing ways, this is definitely a lovely one to watch!

Charlotte's Net by James Dobbins Jones - Film Review

We very much look forward to seeing where James Dobbins Jones goes next!




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