#Horror: Tara Subkoff’s stylishly gory slasher movie

Stylised slasher movie scene
Tara Subkoff’s stylised slasher movie #Horror debuted at Moma earlier this month, and also played at Cannes this year to online buzz and excitement
(Image credit: press)

If you find much contemporary art disorienting, even a little disturbing and creepy, then Tara Subkoff’s art-house slasher movie #Horror might be the film for you. Similarly, it will appeal if you like pristine glass modernism set in snow-dusted woods in Connecticut (the former does not necessarily preclude the latter). Indeed #Horror - a tale of teenage cyber-bullying, the perils of privilege, extreme gamification and murderous Warhol-acolytes – which premiered at New York’s MOMA earlier this month, is sort of like The Ice Storm four decades on, only with extra gore and mobile technology.

Subkoff, a former actor and fashion designer for the upcycling pioneer Imitation of Christ, has wrangled Chloë Sevigny, Timothy Hutton, Natasha Lyonne and Balthazar Getty to take on acting roles in her directorial debut, as well as a gaggle of truly terrifying teenage girls, also making their debut. But she also finds a starring role for art works from Urs Fischer, usefully Subkoff’s husband, Franz West, Steven Shearer, Rob Pruitt, Dan Colen, Rudolf Stingel, Julian Schnabel, Francesco Clemente, Adam Mcewen, Tara’s brother, Daniel Subkoff, Adriana Atema, Don Brown and Jaz Harold. Indeed this art collection, curated by Fischer, as well as a series of masks he made especially for the film, develop their own chilly menace. The film also features original video art by Tabor Robak, including the deranged emoticons of the opening credits.

As a straight ahead chiller, #Horror is something of a disappointment. Not least because every character is so unlikeable, their messy demise can’t come soon enough. As a satire on the deadening effects of social media, the dubious mechanics of the art world and even more dubious motives of the art collector, it works just fine.

Horror movie scene

Hashtag Horror (and yes, you are supposed to pronounce the hashtag) deals with issues of cyber-bullying, cultural narcissism, and the painful detachment of online cruelty

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The cast, bar Chloe Sevigny and handful of others

The cast, bar Chloe Sevigny and handful of others, is largely unknown - the five leading girls were just twelve when the film was shot

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Tara Subkoff’s artist pals

A benefit of being a renowned designer first and foremost, with a directorial debut at the age of 42 was that a number of Tara Subkoff’s artist pals contributed pieces for the film (including Rob Pruitt and Dan Colen)

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#Horror movie scene

Aptly, #Horror sees gore aplenty. It is gratuitous, but it is also gorgeously stylish and Subkoff’s impeccable visual sensibility shines through

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#Horror movie graphics

The online element permeates the visuals as well as the plot. It is conveyed through a series of animated graphics (like the hashtag seen here) that pop up on screen, making the online trope inescapable and deliberately suffocating for the viewer

(Image credit: press)