Occasionally even bad films feature great ideas. Jason William Lee’s (The Evil in Us) film is about an online reality show of the kind which we have never seen before. Funhouse is available online worldwide and the eight selected contestants live in a house together. This is where the similarities to Big Brother end. The eight are celebrities who hail from different parts of the globe. They know they are there to compete but what they only find out once the game begins is that they are playing for their very lives. They will all be eliminated literally one by one until there is the last one standing. All the violence, gore and death are watched by people around the world.
A message is buried amidst all the crap to be found here. And it is an interesting one. Timely. About how it seems like we are going this way. That everything has become entertainment. Not only plays, films, series, and reality shows, but things like politics and news have had to entertain to keep up. What is next? Real-life violence as entertainment? Doesn’t seem like we are to far from a full circle return to what was seen as entertainment in Rome. MMA fighters are akin to the gladiators of old. Are we truly entertained by car races unless there is a crash? Pressure is not brought upon professional sports leagues to keep athletes safe. We don’t seem to want fighting taken out of hockey despite the unnecessary danger it poses to the players. Social media and all the crap you can find there lends to that kind of thinking.
Making a film of this sort is ambitious. An in-depth look at human behaviour today is what is required and it seems out of Lee’s depth. What is missing is any real accumulated tension. Instead, the emphasis is placed on the gore involved in the killings. After a while, that loses its effect.
Still, there are cool elements like the scenes of kids watching this gory, horrible reality show and most of the special effects and make up.