You don’t have to tell me the internet is a dangerous place–full of flame wars galore and attention-deficit inducing social networking sites–it’s enough to make a sane man stupid. Also, I hope it goes without saying that cruisin’ the web for teenage hook-ups was a bad idea long before Chris Hansen made it seem like as good a way as any to get on a TV show. In fact, if Dateline had just set up a simple sting operation in the town of Goshen, Indiana, then I wouldn’t have had to spend the better part of 2 hours trudging through this weeks latest teen thriller.
Elsewhere is about a bad girl (or was that a dirtygurrl) named Jillian (Tania Raymonde) who sets up a online profile replete with half-naked pictures of herself as some sort of power-trip-self-stroking-ego-booster designed to give the town slut some power over her out of control movie-of-the-week existence. Her best friend is the pure-as-the-driven-snow good girl Sarah (Twilight’s Anna Kendrick). Sarah can’t control Jillian any more than her nasty trailer park mother can. So, when Jillian disappears everyone just assumes that she ran away–everyone except Sarah. Now, Sarah is desperate to find out what happened to her friend and all she has to go on is a terrifying cell phone message, Jillian’s journal and the hundreds of online suspects that Jillian was flirting with.
Talk about your message movies. This film is like a parents worst fear of online predators (assuming they haven’t seen Strangeland yet.) They hit every cliché in the book on the way toward pumping this story out. So busy that it’s ducks were in a row and it’s red herrings were on the line that Elsewhere completely forgets that it needs to actually be interesting to be effective. And the second biggest problem–after the by-the-book plot points is the atrocious dialogue and abysmal performances by the cast members. Tania Raymonde is fine as Ben’s Daughter on the ABC hit show Lost, but here, she’s reduced to textbook-typical “What do you got” rebellion. Sure her home life sucks but…whatever…get over it. Oh, and Sarah–the perfect one–has hardships too. Her rich lawyer Mommy is never home—too busy making all the green to be seen. This is breaking my heart (if I had a heart). Sarah has to buy chicken dinners since Mommy doesn’t have the time to cook a meal. Sarah is also hamstrung by the ditzy-dull performance from Anna Kendrick. It’s hard to believe this characters future is so bright considering how dim she seems to be at all times. Chalk that one up to the script as well.
In fact, every kid in this film seems to come from a broken home…what’s up with that? I’m not sure that Writer/Director Nathan Hope has a message in this movie about how parents ignoring their children in a world as open and invasive as the one that exists in today’s age is a recipe for disaster. But he does manage to concoct a fine debacle of his own. It goes like this. One part done to death storyline. Two actresses that deliver far below sub-standard performances. A killer that blind men could identify, and finally, not even the slightest hint of terror or immediacy on the screen. Mix, shake, stir and then dump it down the drain.