Hooked Up Movie Review
Written by R.J. MacReady
DVD released by Uncork'd Entertainment
Directed by Pablo Larcuen
Written by Pablo Larcuen and Eduard Sola
2013, 78 minutes, Not Rated
Released on VOD April 7th, 2015
Jonah Ehrenreich as Tonio
Júlia Molins as Noemi
Stephen Ohl as Peter
Natascha Wiese as Katia
Let's get this out of the way first, is this movie the "first feature film shot entirely with an iPhone", as it's billed on the poster and in the trailer? It's doubtful given that Park Chan-wook (of OldBoy fame) debuted his film Paranmanjang on January 27 of 2011, and the oldest mention of Hooked Up that I can find is from October of 2013. Another movie called Rideshare has also touted itself as the first ever, so Hooked Up's claim is dubious at best.
But hey, they want a hook (pardon the pun) and even if it's not the first, there really haven't been many that were shot entirely on an iPhone. The problem is this: as a moviegoer, why should I care? The claim is just a gimmick. It's certainly not a reason to seek out a movie.
Which leads to the question: is it worth checking out?
Tonio and Peter are two friends who decide to go to Barcelona to basically get drunk, get laid, and help Peter forget the fact that he's just broken up with his girlfriend. The two hop the first plane, and after some extended travel scenes, are drinking, partying and setting back American/Barcelonian relations a decade. The first twenty minutes drag until the duo finally hits a night club.
There they meet two girls – one smoking hottie and her attractive friend who's so drunk she's about to pass out. They accompany the girls back to their apartment building for some sex. Things go bad, and soon they want to leave, but an insane, knife-wielding masked woman has trapped them in the building.
My earliest problem stemmed directly from their claims about this being an iPhone movie. As soon as the shit hits the fan, the guys start asking for a phone to call the police. I naturally thought, "Okay, it was shot on an iPhone, but I guess the characters are supposed to be using a regular camera." But then one of them actually says (in reference to the camera), "Hand me the phone."
So I'm not sure why they don't use the phone they're recording the whole thing with to call the police. (Someone at some point might have said something about a SIM card, but they're both yelling and screaming at the same time, so I'm not sure why the phone wouldn't have a SIM card if that's what they were getting at)
The windows on the second floor are boarded up and a couple of strands of barbed wire are strung across. Again, my suspension of disbelief was damaged. A boarded-up window would hardly stop me from escaping if my life depending on it.
I gave the film some leeway, as you need to do for most found-footage films, on why these two keep videotaping once their lives are on the line.
The four key actors in the movie aren't bad. At times of high emotion a lot of it feels strained, but many of the problems came from character decisions that didn't seem motivated, particularly when one character turns on the other.
As for the quality of the picture, I'll say that it doesn't look any worse off than most found-footage flicks. It's actually surprising, given how dark most of the scenes are, that image quality doesn't suffer as bad as I would have imagined. It's not like I'll be begging for more shot-on-iPhone movies though.
For a no-budget movie it's not all bad, and it's competently-directed. If you're a fan of found-footage horror and not tired of the trapped-in-a-house/asylum/apartment formula, then maybe you'll enjoy this. For most of us who have seen Rec or Grave Encounters and many others, this movie just doesn't offer anything new.