Some Chatrooms Should Stay Offline

Some Chatrooms Should Stay Offline

Static Mass Rating: 1/5
Revolver Entertainment 

Release date: April 25th 2011
Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 97 minutes

Director: Hideo Nakata

Cast: Aaron Johnson, Imogen Poots, Matthew Beard, Hannah Murray, Daniel Kaluuya, Megan Dodds, Michelle Fairley, Nicholas Gleaves, Jacob Anderson, Tuppence Middleton, Ophelia Lovibond, Richard Madden

The power of the internet is undoubtedly great, and to study the friendships forged online has the potential to be extremely interesting. Unfortunately, mirroring real life internet interaction, Chatroom is populated by people you wouldn’t want to talk to.

William (Aaron Johnson) is unblinking as a mentally ill teenager who has issues with everything and a penchant for suicide chatrooms. He creates Chelsea Teens! to meet new friends, chat, and manipulate their lives.


Eva (Imogen Poots) is a wannabe model who hates her friends, and is originally on side with Will, encouraging Emily (Hannah Murray) to commit “random acts of violence” against her parents so they’ll pay her more attention.

Jim (Matt Beard) has never gotten over the disappearance of his father and makes up for his lack of social skills with anxieties in abundance.

Mo (Daniel Kaluuya) is there for some reason, I’m not sure if writer Enda Walsh had quite figured that out either. But Will, being the sociopath that he is, takes things too far and turns Chatroom into every parent’s worst nightmare.


The only character with any meat on is Will, and he isn’t explored fully enough to give the audience a redeeming quality about him. The others are two dimensional and unconvincing; I don’t care about their problems or to hear about them whining about them. Please stop now.

Emily is absent for about half of the film, and I didn’t miss her at all. Jim is the most likeable, but it’s unbelievable how quickly he gets sucked in by Will, and he doesn’t elicit enough sympathy to keep viewers invested in the film.


Chatroom could have been a study on social interaction; exploring the disconnection between real life and the internet, and the way that people (mis)represent themselves when they won’t meet in real life.

Instead, it zooms in on suicide chatrooms, where depressed teens go to be berated and baited into taking their own lives, broadcasting live via webcam all the while. It manages to take this very real issue and treat it crassly with insensitivity.


  • Cast and crew interviews (12 mins)
  • Behind-the-scenes (10 mins)
  • Deleted scenes (28 mins)
  • Stop motion (1 minute)
  • Cast diary (2.30 mins)
  • Chelse Teens! (1.30 mins)
  • Character introductions with Enda Walsh
  • Cast song
  • Tour of Matt Bard’s trailer

Will observes from the back of the rooms, standing in front of, cliché alert, a mural of red angels wings. He is fixated, and endeavours to kill Jim in real life. The reason why is not explored at all, other than a throwaway line, that Jim reminds him of someone he used to know. Himself, obviously. It’s tenuous and transparent, and just having Will ‘being ill’ isn’t enough to keep the clunky story afloat.


Without ruining it, the ending is plain ridiculous.

Visually, Nakata doesn’t do anything stunning. His imagining of the internet as a physical space is fine, certainly more informed that other computer movies out there, but he doesn’t create anything spectacular.

Awkwardly straddling reality and cyberspace with no characters to get your teeth stuck into, Chatroom fails to connect.

There are a lot of special features included, which is a bonus because the actors are way more interesting than the characters they play.

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