My capsule review & pics of “uwantme2killhim?” US Premiere Q&A at Santa Barbara Film Fest + Trailers

On Wednesday, February 5, 2014 I attended the long, long, long-awaited U.S. Premiere of Andrew Douglas' true crime thriller uwantme2killhim? at the 29th Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The sold-out screening was held at the Metro 4 Theatre. The film was a selection in the Narrative Competition section.

First, let me say that there are NO spoilers in this piece.

Back in 2003, 14-year-old "John" (played by Toby Regbo) and 16-year-old "Mark" (Jamie Blackley) made UK crime history (which says a lot in itself). Their horrific story, widely circulated in the British press in the mid '00s, eventually made its way into the hands of writer Judy Bachrach and a 2005 Vanity Fair magazine article. (You can read it here, but be forewarned that it gives away the whole movie.) Transforming that magazine article into a movie script began shortly afterward by writer Mike Walden. Bryan Singer was brought on to direct the project.

Incessant production delays pushed the film back to late 2011. By then, Singer had completed X-Men: First Class, was several years into Executive Producing Fox's House, and was in post-production on Jack the Giant Slayer with X-Men: Days of Future Past to come soon after that. With so much on his plate, Singer had to back out of directing the project but was so passionate about the material that he stayed on as producer, handpicking Andrew Douglas to direct uwantme2killhim? in his stead. Douglas' only narrative feature credit was the 2005 remake of The Amityville Horror (the one with Ryan Reynolds).

Singer stayed hands-on, though, consulting closely with Douglas every step of the way. That said, Douglas told me that he did have free rein to change and adjust the script to suit his vision -- which he did -- and the result is similar to, but different in tone than the version Singer would have shot. (I can't go into more detail as that alone would be a major spoiler.)

With Executive Producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein on board, along with a team of top production companies including Singer's Bad Hat Harry and Steve Golin's Anonymous Content, the film debuted at the Edinburgh Film Festival in June, 2013, where stars Blackley and Regbo shared the award for Best Performance. It was released on DVD in the UK last fall and came to America for its U.S. Premiere at Santa Barbara. For anyone who was aware of this story when it hit the British courts a decade ago, and knew it was being made into a film over eight years ago (including this journalist), it was a very long time coming and the very definition of highly anticipated.

This is one of those films for which, as a non-spoiler reviewer, it's best for me to avoid the specifics of the script and who does what here. You'll have to discover that for yourself. But, needless to say, uwantme2killhim? is not the feel-good movie of the year. It's often sad and scary, dark and depressing at times, and knowing it's based on a true story makes it all the more devastating when we witness the consequences of our seemingly-innocuous actions when looking for virtual companionship online...which is where you can find the film, as well as other platforms, through Tribeca Film On Demand.

For a synopsis of uwantme2killhim? see the festival's official page.

Director Andrew Douglas engaged the audience in an informative and insightful Q&A session after the screening.

Here are some pictures I shot during the Q&A. Two official trailers follow.




uwantme2killhim? Teaser Trailer

Directed by Andrew Douglas and produced by Bryan Singer, Steve Golin, Peter Heslop, Simon Crocker and Jason…
  • Video Release: June 17, 2013
  • Length: 1.63 min
  • Views: 34013

Uwantme2killhim? - Official UK Trailer - On DVD September 16

When 16-year-old Mark, a handsome boy, popular with girls, meets local girl Rachel on the Internet, he quickly finds…
  • Video Release: August 05, 2013
  • Length: 1.35 min
  • Views: 67748


Author

Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at Larry411.com

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  • Author: Larry Richman
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