Sorry to Bother You (2018)

Sorry to Bother You (2018) Cover

Note: Be warned, Sorry to Bother You is really a SciFi horror with disturbing and upsetting imagery and ideas disguised as a comedy.

Sorry to Bother You is a gut-wrenching film that left me reeling for hours after I left the theater. The truth is, I may have left the theater, the film hasn’t left me. Director Boots Riley digs deeply into issues of racial identity and individuality which shifts wildly into an examination of exploitative consumer culture. This is a deep and thoughtful SciFi horror that bils itself as a comedy, and that is going to make a lot of people really unhappy when they see it. I know I am among the minority of people who enjoy having their expectations twisted out of control and taken to a horrifying place, so take it with a grain of salt when I say that I LOVE this movie. I love it for all the reasons that I suspect many people will hate it.

And it is perfectly okay if you hate it. There is a very real chance that you didn’t get the movie you thought you were going to see, and you do not deserve to be lied to.

When it comes to horror I strongly prefer a story that leaves me uneasy and filled with questions and doubts about who I am and where we’re going as a society. Sorry to Bother You subverted all of my expectations, transforming like a caterpillar into a butterfly before my very eyes. It very much starts as the comedy in the trailer, racially charged and even deeply intelligent in the way it discusses the way society treats people of color. I’m completely unqualified to unpack everything happening here because every second of storytelling is layered with subtext and multi-layered communication that has to be unraveled.

Then, about halfway through the film, the story bursts out of its shell in ways that are bizarre and unpredictable. I’m not going to spoil a second of it, you have to see it to believe it.

While the story and plot are both engaging, smart, and scathing indictments of society in the vein of satirical works like RoboCop and Running Man, Sorry to Bother You bleeds style of its eyes. The merging of direction, cinematography, and music make it a pure joy to behold. I had a smile plastered on my face for the whole roller-coaster ride of an experience thanks to the remarkable craftsmanship.

Sorry to Bother You

Functionally, this movie is well made on every single level. It is art from the ground up, with every frame lovingly composed and set to music that has your blood pumping, seen through shots that invest you in the emotion of the scene, and acting that helps deliver the creepy vision of a word gone mad. It’s breathtaking to see a challenging work of art where talented creators are allowed to use their craft to deliver on themes and ideas, ultimately delivering a narrative that is able to say something.

There honestly isn’t a better word to describe Sorry to Bother You than roller-coaster because of how rapidly it takes you from falling on the floor laughing, to cringing through the dark and uncomfortable social situations, to being outright sick to your stomach at the unflinching nightmare. Sorry to Bother You is a must see for horror fans that is going to have me thinking about it over and over again. While many viewers will dislike and reject this film, as much for the challenging views it portrays as for how it unexpectedly subjects you to a terrifying dystopian present, Sorry to Bother You is an incredible film that deserves to be remembered and discussed. For those of you who are able to enjoy what it really is, despite how it was marketed to you, you’re going to end up with a film you may treasure for years to come.

Final Verdict:A chilling waking nightmare of a film that will sit with you long after it is over.