I Blame Society (2021)

Director: Gillian Wallace Horvat

Running Time: 84 Minutes

Certificate: 18

Starring: Gillian Wallace Horvat, Chase Williamson, Keith Poulson, Jennifer Kim

As the film opens, we see aspiring filmmaker Gillian sitting down with her closest friend, Chase, for a filmed interview. It's part of a film she's making, spurned on by a comment made by friends about how she'd make a good murderer. She uses this opportunity to discuss how they would commit the perfect murder, and who would be the right victim. As the conversation goes on, it becomes clear Gillian's perfect victim is Chase's girlfriend, who she refers to as Stalin. Despite how awfully we hear she's treated Chase, he becomes defensive, and the conversation turns sour.

We then cut to three years later, the project abandoned, and Gillian is struggling to make a career as a filmmaker. Her script has been rejected after months of waiting, due to being considered too political, and the lead reportedly not being likeable enough. She senses her peers are losing faith in her, and especially her ability to succeed, so decides to prove herself by resurrecting her abandoned project, and committing murder on film.

Serving as writer and director, Gillian Wallace Horvat plays a version of herself onscreen, and puts an excellent performance into the role. She captures the characters struggles to get noticed so well, conveying how she wants validation for doing something she's good. It's completely typical, then, that the only credit for her work is given to a man. Her desire to prove her worth serves as motivation, and she becomes intent on amplifying her voice without asking others for permission.

For her plan to commit murder, she decides to build up to it, so starts by committing shoplifting, an act she immediately regrets. When she progresses onto breaking and entering, she's much less repentant over her actions, relishing in the thrill of it. When the time comes for Gillian to reconnect with Chase, hoping to be friends again after so long, her plans are thrown into turmoil, and things spiral out of control. It's at this point the film mirrors our lead's journey, by venturing down a much darker path. She's passed the point of no return, having committed so much to her journey that it's too late to stop, and even finds herself enjoying the ride.

Through a mockumentary style, Gillian Wallace Horvat delivers a satirical look at filmmaking that feels made out of real experiences. The most blatant digs at the industry come when Gillian meets with a pair of male producers, who try to prove they're up to date by throwing around buzzwords with such hollow meaning, hoping it will actually mean something. They have a simple idea of what a strong female lead is, and when Gillian doesn't fit into their hive mind ideal of what that should be, they're quick to criticise that. As much as they talk about strong female voices, they're eager to comment on Gillian's body, and seem ready to stifle her voice. What we're left with is a fiery film born out of very real frustrations, coming from just being a woman trying to make films.

I Blame Society is available on Digital Download from 19th April