MOVIE REVIEW: Ingrid Goes West

Comedy/Drama/Psychological horror in a film that stars one of my guilty crushes Aubrey Plaza we’re left to wonder what they are aiming for.  Anyway that’s later on in the review.  Ingrid is a very unbalanced young woman who stalks people on social media and builds up a whole friendship in her head with even the slightest of recognition from anyone.  After a brutal encounter at one of these ‘Friends’ wedding Ingrid is sent into psychiatric care.  Afterwards she jumps on the next possible victim played by Elizabeth Olsen.  From there things go from bad to worse.

The story is that Ingrid after her latest attack on a friend who isn’t really a friend but is an online only friend, and she’s also dealing with the death of her Mother, finds a new attraction.  Taylor, played by Olsen, seems like she has it all and Ingrid sets her laser focus on her.  Ingrid takes the money that her Mother left her in cash and travels across the USA to California to make friends in reality with Taylor.  When she does, by kidnapping Taylor’s adorable pooch, things seem to be going well for the loveable psychopath.  It’s only when Taylor’s boozy and druggie brother comes back on the scene that things start to go downhill.

There is a great performance by O’Shea Jackson Jr as the love interest and Californian landlord of Ingrid.  Olsen and Plaza look as though they had fun in their roles and you can feel a strong chemistry between the two performers.  Sadly it’s the script and direction that lets them down.  A film like this with a cast that has boundless talent should have captivated me throughout the whole running time, but there were times where my mind started to wander around the deep cold black recesses that I have inside, never a good sign.  Plaza and Olsen have enough talent where I should have been calling this film the black comedy of the year and it’s not their fault, they do their best to make their characters likeable, which is a testament to the skills of Plaza, as Ingrid is someone who back in my 20’s I’d seek out to date but now run a mile from.

I don’t know if the writers and Director were going for a mix of everything and trying to make a social impact film that highlights the psychosis of the social media fascination that is hitting the young and the old.  We are living more on our phones than ever before and becoming the worse for it.  Ingrid encapsulates the whole horror of humanity’s need for more and more attention and instant gratification.  If the film makers wanted to concentrate on something it should have been the natural no kill horror of that, it would have been, it could have been a five-star film.  There are many great performances in the film it’s just that with the distraction of the different story types that are not placed, paced, or done very well.  This should have been a home run fun with this cast but honestly once I finish writing this review I’ll probably forget that it exists at all.  Or I’ll remember it for the reason that one of those performers that I actually admire was in such tripe.  It’s not the actors fault in any way… they did their best.  The film makers need to know one phrase going forward, Jack of all Trades, Master of none.  They should have picked a genre and worked towards that.  That’s the Plaza/Olsen film that I would have given five out of five for!

Director:  Matt Spicer
Writers: David Branson SmithMatt Spicer
Stars: Aubrey PlazaElizabeth OlsenO’Shea Jackson Jr. & more… See full cast & crew

Trailer:

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