Assassination Nation (2018)

Assassination Nation (2018) Cover

The best horror films capture the fears of a generation and culture and Assassination Nation dives head first into the horrors of our times with frightening effectiveness. Director Sam Levinson elevates his craft to astounding heights with energetic camera work, gripping scene composition, and unrelentingly tense pacing wrapped around a story about the increasingly unreliable nature of information as it destructively passes through the lens of public perception and groupthink judgment. Viewer beware that Assassination Nation is deeply upsetting to watch. Pay attention to the trailer, it is not joking about its trigger warnings.

Where Assassination Nation excels the most is in its use of modern fears to build a narrative that is complex and painful. It rips into how everything in society today makes you afraid of yourself. You’re afraid of how people treat you, of the things you need to do to be accepted, afraid of not being what the world wants and also afraid of being what the world wants. You can’t be you and you can’t escape being you. It’s miserable. Everything constantly worse because of the unreliable narrative of the world… not any one character, but the very society that the story takes place in feels insubstantial. The era of fake news made manifest and amplifying everything that you’re already terrified of.

Sam Levinson’s visual storytelling magnifies the intricate narrative while keeping it tight but frenetic. Why waste words when you can have three parallel scenes playing in unison with simultaneous threads tying together? His style imparts the full runtime with energy that highlights the best elements of the story while muting some of the weaker moments. I don’t believe I’ve seen this much style since Scott Pilgrim VS The World.

I want to spend some extra time giving credit to Levinson for what’s accomplished here. One of the major challenges with a story like this is communicating all of the information that the viewer needs to track the action and narrative. The use of parrallel frames and layered scene composition filled with densely packed information communicates a story that is so much larger than would be possible without so much talent. You cannot watch this film passively because so much is communicated visually.

As mentioned before, Assassination Nation is punctuated with violence and sexuality that is confrontational as well as brutal bullying, assault, human objectification, and misogyny. The aggressive subject matter underscores and highlights all the nightmares that the film brings to life. I don’t say this casually, but you should not watch this film if you aren’t prepared to be uncomfortable at best and thoroughly sick at worst. Honestly, Assassination Nation should make you upset. It drags you through so much trash that you can’t help but feel dirty on the other side.

If you’re a fan of horror, you cannot miss Assassination Nation as it will help define a new era of films that dig into the fears of a modern age. Not for the faint of heart, if you’re up for a visceral and upsetting thrill ride through a modern nightmare definitely give it a watch.

Final Verdict:If you're a fan of horror you cannot miss it.