Summary: Josh Fosse is a 20 something guy whose life is going nowhere. His girl left, his rent is late, and he lacks a real job. He is trying to make it as an app reviewer online and decides to review a self help app called i-Lived for fun. He's signs on and immediately his life turns around. He meets the girl of his dreams and he gets a job offer he can't refuse. Convinced it's him and not the app, he signs out... and loses everything. He signs on again but this time the terms are different, the app is asking him to do things that are out of his moral comfort zone... but essential to becoming the success the app tells him he can be.
Reading this summary, this immediately struck me as an updated version of 13: A Game of Death (or it's American remake 13 Sins); and essentially it was. Both 13 movies consisted of a man receiving phone calls and text messages given them missions to do. Each mission gets harder and more morally wrong but if they complete all 13 missions they win a million dollars. In a world now where there is an app for everything, this is today's version of that. I-Lived is a self help app where you put in a goal for yourself and the app gives you missions. When the mission is completed, whatever the goal was becomes a reality. The app also has it's own version of a social media site where all users post the videos of them completing their missions. Josh begins to wonder why many users begin to make their accounts private. He begins to realize that as their missions are becoming worse and worse, they don't want others to see the videos of them carrying them out. However, they also do not want to give up on everything going their way so they refuse to stop. Josh's missions start of relatively easy, like doing nice things for people. When everything starts looking up for him, he deletes the app and just as fast as everything went his way, it all started to fall apart. He reactivates his account and immediately gets everything back. Only problem is that his missions now are getting harder and much more sinister.
Now I wouldn't say I went into this movie expecting it to be horrible but beings how it seemed like it a remake of a movie that's been made twice in just over a decade, I didn't have the highest of expectations for it. I was pleasantly surprised. The story itself, while sharing some similarities with the aforementioned movies, does also have it's own original spin to it. Most notably being in the 13 movies, the overall goal was to win a million dollars. In I-Lived, it's whatever the subscriber wants it to be, no matter how big or small. It could be as big as a dream job or dream girl or as small as wanting six pack abs, one mission and it's yours. The casting choices were perfect. Josh is your regular, everyday average Joe. Not a bad looking guy but strangely awkward. The gorgeous dream girl Greta, who is WAY out of Josh's league. And we can't forget Bobby Yen, Josh's ultra nerdy best friend. It is a cast of newcomers and I would have to say that they all did a great job. Their characters were believable. The story was solid. We got to ride the roller coaster that was Josh's life as the I-Lived app gave to him and took away. I followed and even rooted for him up until the moment the app won and he snapped. That point would be my only real negative reaction to the movie. Once he broke, he started seeing and imaging things and it became really unclear what was going on. This was by no means negative enough to pass on this movie. It may not have the full demonic feel it was going for and it really falls more into the thriller category than it does horror but it was still a very solid movie.
Now there was one other aspect that was an extremely awesome addition. As is pretty evident by what I have said so far, this is a good movie on it's own. Luckily, it doesn't have to be a stand alone movie and I definitely recommend viewing this with the full experience. This movie does a great job at exploiting this generations need to let social media and apps control their lives. I remember when Stay Alive came out and I couldn't believe that they missed the golden opportunity to bring that badass video game to life. The creative team behind I-Lived did not make that same mistake. When you create a movie about a “demonic” app, what better way to really drive the movie home than to create an app to go along with it. The creative team on this one went above and beyond to give me what is possibly one of the greatest movie experiences I've ever had. If you are going to watch this movie, do yourself a favor and go all in. Download the I-Lived app (free on the iPhone and Android). When you open the app, it prompts you to sync it to the movie. It will access your microphone and listen to the movie so it can sync up to the precise spot you are up to. Leave the app on while you watch the movie and prepare to be amazed. Did you ever watch a movie and the character receives a text message that they show on the screen but it is such a short clip that you really couldn't make out what it says. Not an issue you are going to have during this movie since every text that Josh receives, will be displayed on your phone. In the beginning of the movie, Josh's power goes out. He grabs a flashlight. As soon as he turned the flashlight on, the light on my phone came on. As well as multiple clips and videos that randomly popped up, some more frightening than others. I am not ashamed to admit that while the movie itself may not have been all that scary, when I was watching it in a pitch black room at 1 in the morning, the movie mixed with the interaction from my phone did creep me out a little bit. This is one of the few movies where I am hoping for a sequel of some kind just so I can watch another movie with this same interactive experience. You know how some movies are just made to be watched in theaters, or in 3D, etc.... well I-Lived is made to be watched with this app. So download the app, watch the movie, and enjoy.
reviewed by Bobby