Ingrid Goes West Blu-ray Review
The social media age is certainly spawning another batch of stalker films, but none of them have really stuck the landing by being effective. Before INGRID GOES WEST, the only ones that came to mind were bad ones; THE ROOMMATE, which is a literal ripoff of SINGLE WHITE FEMALE, and THE BOY NEXT DOOR. I think the one thing that differentiates INGRID GOES WEST from those two films is there is a lot more realism in INGRID’s Instagram stalking tale and how social media paranoia fuels mental illness on some level.
We meet Ingrid (Plaza) flipping through Instagram photos like a jilted lover. But instead of crying and frantically staring at her phone over an ex-boyfriend, its photos of a wedding she wasn’t invited to. She retaliates by macing the bride in the face in the middle of the wedding after party. We later learn that the bride was never her friend, but simply someone who commented on a photo of hers on Instagram. That statement alone reveals a deep psychosis.
With that in mind, we watch as Ingrid latches on to a new victim. This one, Taylor (Olsen), is an Instagram socialite, whose claim to fame is literally being cute and capturing every menial detail of her life on social media. Older viewers will immediately not grasp that concept and be turned off, which I understand. Ingrid gets all her money in a bag (literally) and drives to California to slowly stalk and duplicate Taylor’s life.
Ingrid replicates Taylor’s looks, her eating habits, her fashion choices and her vernacular. In a way we’re watching a tragically empty person model herself and attempt to befriend another person who’s seemingly empty. We don’t learn much about Taylor, but it seems like her purpose is devoid without meaning if her life isn’t being captured on social media. There’s even a subtle comment about that point in the end when Ingrid’s sanity finally begins to snap.
INGRID GOES WEST struggles to fill it’s time, attempting to find more grandeur in its side characters that appear to be tools or roadblocks for Ingrid. It works with Ingrid’s California landlord, played by an incredibly likeable O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Ice Cube’s son) and Taylor’s artistically frustrated husband. But Taylor’s brother and uninteresting friend serve to create conflict when there should be enough conflict in Ingrid’s actions alone. She is of course building her entire facade and life on lies. That house of cards should tumble without a violent nudge by a secondary element.
INGRID GOES WEST also ends on a somewhat sour note, at least for those who might or know anyone suffering from depression. I understand that a movie should reflect certain aspects of life and some people, but it goes about conveying that final message queasily. A lot of it has to do with the film’s shifting tone, which Plaza handles well, even if the script doesn’t. Plaza is the only believable element during the story’s narrative flip flopping.
Despite being well made, I don’t believe INGRID GOES WEST serves as a cautionary tale like it presumes itself to be. With or without social media, stalking will happen and mental illness will exist. If there is a point to be made, it’s that social media creates an unrealistic need for infamy without effort and being loved without words or actions, and simply by Instagram hearts and Twitter retweets. I think that’s an excellent point to be made, and INGRID GOES WEST certainly isn’t the first and won’t be the last to make it, but dragging mental illness into the fray cheapens its thematic impact.
Video: (1080p HD Widescreen 2:39:1) The film captures California as the imaginary oasis that Ingrid views it as wonderfully on this blu-ray.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) There are no noticeable audio mixing problems.
Feature Commentary by Director/Co-Writer Matt Spicer, Co-Writer David Branson Smith and Aubrey Plaza: This is a genuinely entertaining commentary, with Spicer and Smith providing a lot more insight behind the storytelling choices, and Plaza bringing the acting side into the mix. They’re a good trio to do commentary for the movie, especially Plaza who helps bring a little comedy, moreso than the movie itself, into the fray.
Deleted Scenes (8:12): There are three deleted scenes that you can play with or without commentary. They seem inconsequential to the final product and the commentary sheds light on why the individual scenes were cut or trimmed.