Assassination Nation

Review by Hannah Woodhead @goodjobliz

Directed by

Sam Levinson

Starring

Hari Nef Odessa Young Suki Waterhouse

Anticipation.

Strong female cast. Could be fun.

Enjoyment.

Oh...

In Retrospect.

Enough with the feminism-as-male-titillation, please.

Sam levinson’s satirical teen thriller about an IRL witchhunt leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

In some strange attempt to poke fun at the concept of basic human decency, Sam Levinson’s Assassination Nation is prefaced by a list of trigger warnings. Apathetic teenager Lily (Odessa Young) reels off a list of topics which will pop up over the film’s 110-minute runtime, including transphobia, attempted rape, gore and “fragile male egos”. Levinson makes his stance clear: ‘This movie isn’t for those who are easily offended, LOL!’

Billed as a ‘satirical teen thriller’, Levinson’s film focuses heavily on the texts, sexts and salacious selfies that – according to mass media – are integral parts of the teen experience. Black humour hints at Heathers as an inspiration, but the aesthetic seems closer to Zack Snyder’s misguided 2011 thriller Sucker Punch.

Set in Salem, Massachusetts, it sees a group of high school students – Lily, Sarah (Suki Waterhouse) Bex (Hari Nef) and Em (Abra) – become the focus of a whole town’s ire following a mass data leak. With secrets exposed through incriminating texts and photos, a #witchhunt (because they’re in Salem! Geddit?) begins. Forced to defend themselves against a crowd baying for their blood, the girls raid an arsenal of guns, don red vinyl raincoats, and start to wage war.

Any attempt at satirising either American society’s fear of teenagers or inherent misogyny is undermined by how willingly the film seems to buy into the very thing it’s purportedly riffing on. The characters are all Millennial/Gen Z caricatures, but Levinson fails to tell us anything we don’t already know about mob mentality or the pitfalls of living life online.

He seems purely interested in dressing young women in provocative outfits, giving them assault rifles and claiming this is somehow subversive, rendering Assassination Nation an empty, salivating spectacle with nothing new or interesting to say about the objectification and vilification of young women.

Published 21 Nov 2018

Tags: Sam Levinson Suki Waterhouse

Anticipation.

Strong female cast. Could be fun.

Enjoyment.

Oh...

In Retrospect.

Enough with the feminism-as-male-titillation, please.

Related Reviews

A Simple Favour

By Hannah Woodhead

Hollywood funny guy Paul Feig tries his hand at something a little different with this fizzy comedy thriller.

review

Heaven can’t help a teenage witch in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

By Hannah Woodhead

Netflix puts a spooky twist on a ’90s TV staple for their latest Original series.

Overlord

By Anton Bitel

Two US soldiers make a surprising discovery behind enemy lines in this World War Two horror from Julius Avery.

review LWLies Recommends

What are you looking for?

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.

Editorial

Design

Sign up to our newsletter to hear more from team LWLies