- Ghosts of Empire Prairie (2013) Review

Title: Faust 2.0

Also known as:

Year: 2014

Genre: Horror / Anthology

Language: Swedish

Runtime: 79 min

Director: Nicolas Debot, Micke Engström, Allan Gustafsson, Johannes Pinter, Robert Selin

Writer: Nicolas Debot, Micke Engström, Allan Gustafsson, Johannes Pinter, Robert Selin & Henrik Qvarnström


The evils of modern technology are portrayed in 5 short stories about phone apps gone wrong. From plots of war to perverted sex acts, the short shows a new side to our obsession with apps.

Our thoughts:
Sweden is at it again, trying to chime in on the horror genre. This time it's venturing into the regions of horror anthology, currently populated and made popular by movie series like "V/H/S" and "The ABCs of Death". We haven't ever had a successful run of horror movies in Sweden, to be honbest, and even the "best" horror movies are arguably arthouse drama-infused horror ("Vargtimmen"), or they suffer in other aspects ("Besökarna"). In recent years we've gotten movies like "Låt den rätte komma in", which is probably a rare case of Sweden succeeding in making a horror themed film popular, and the "The Evil Dead" rip-off "Vittra" - a gory, but otherwise bad movie. Will "Faust 2.0" help bring respect to Swedish horror? Quite the opposite, actually...

"Faust 2.0" is an anthology about the unventured horrors of mobile apps. In 5 different short stories we witness the powers of modern technology, as it seeks its way into the minds of the weak and needy. Or at least that's what the movie wanted to do, but only touches on the surface of its subjects.

The first segment, "Bad News", is possibly the highlight of this anthology. But even this segment is a stinker, unfortunately. It's about a woman who interviewing for a journalist job, and the boss gives her a scoop - to write about a new application. She tries the app and follows where it leads her... The only reason this one works is because we haven't endured 4 other stinkers yet - and this one is not too ridiculous in plot. Good? Meh. Bad? Meh. It's not exciting but it didn't turn me off completely.

The second one ("See Alice") shows a father in a hotel, looking to enjoy himself a bit - when all of the sudden an app appears on his phone, with a seducing offer. Soon after, someone's knocking on his hotel door. It's the horny little woman who was luring him in on the app. After some hot sex in the bed, he finds himself going out to a club with her, and his night takes a dark turn. This one offers boobs and sex, which will satisfy some, but overall it offers silly plot and terrible acting.

Then we have the awkwardly titled "InspirAPPtion", a more comedic short where a horror writer suffers from writer's block, and gets some help from an app. His writing session turns into him having to save a young lady from a bad man. While there is certainly room for comedy in an anthology about killer apps, I'm not sure that "InspirAPPtion" fills that void, or redeems us from the impending boredom. In fact, most of the comedy that works in this one is from bad dialogue, and not necessarily jokes. In that sense it might be more entertaining than the other segments, but is it intentional? Because the dialogue is horribly dry and acted out without an ounce of realism.

The fourth segment has the most setup and unique take on the idea out of the 5, connecting the idea of the app with weaponry and wars. Shame and regret finds its way into the mind of a PR agent for a company that makes and distributed weapons, when it becomes known that their weapons are used in current wars. She's shown an app called "Moral Call" (the title of this segment), which shows her the suffering of a young girl, dying from their weapons. I think it's an interesting idea, but this quickly turns into a horribly cliché horror segment and rarely takes advantage of its somewhat decent idea.

The last segment, "Nättrollets Diskreta Charm" ("The Discreet Charm of the Internet Troll"), is hard to sit through. It's especially hard for me to review this segment, as I know the lead (Mariah Kanninen) and even worked with her on one of my movies, but this segment was possibly the lowest point of the anthology. It certainly goes all out with the craziness, but not in a good way. I will say that I liked that Mariah plays the character seriously, when the rest of the segment is completely retarded. It's about a woman who is going through a break-up, and finds an app that will help her get through it. Why the story gets as retarded as it does, I don't know, but it doesn't get any worse than the climax of this short - which is filled to the brim with some of the worst CGI imaginable.

Overall I can't say that I am shocked that "Faust 2.0" is horrible, but it is still unfortunate. It certainly would have been fun to have a decent Swedish horror movie, and I wished it upon Mariah Kanninen for this to be great. But sadly I can't recommend it to anyone. It tries so much, but the entire idea falls flat in just seconds. They never truly use the app idea for what it is, and just use it as a trigger for something completely stupid or unrelated. It could have been 5 stories that really get into the whole mass-obsession with phones and apps, but this movie could have been made 25 years ago without changing much. The app is simply not a big part of most segments. Looking further than the setup, the movie has mostly horrible acting (other than a few of the leads), poorly written dialogue and excruciatingly shitty CGI effects.

Positive things:
- The idea of an anthology of a phone app is solid.
- A few alright performances.

Negative things:
- The idea is never fully developed.
- The rest of the performances are horrible.
- Cheesy as hell.
- Terrible CGI.

Gore: 2/5
Nudity: 3/5
Story: 2/5
Effects: 1.5/5
Comedy: 1.5/5

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