The evils of social media have been used for cheap thrills before (most notably in ‘teen’ movies like UNFRIENDED and NERVE), but INGRID GOES WEST is a darkly satirical look at the mental health issues that come with an online addiction.
The regrettably-named Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) is a troubled Instagram stalker who is unable to differentiate ‘Likes’ and ‘followers’ from substantial, real-life connections with others. After a violent outburst against a former target lands her in a treatment program, Ingrid inherits a large sum of cash — which she uses in order to stalk her next victim, IG “influencer” Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen).
INGRID GOES WEST benefits greatly from a strong ensemble cast (including O’Shea Jackson, Wyatt Russell, and Billy Magnussen) that helps ground this movie. While the set-up has its flaws — Ingrid is turned up to 11 as soon as we meet her — the story works because the performances are spot on and feel authentic… for the most part. Aubrey Plaza is forced to walk an ever-shrinking tightrope between nuance and parody throughout; which, to her credit, results in only a slightly uneven effort.
There are a lot of important discussions to be had about WEST because it exposes both the fraudulent escapism and perpetual sadness that are the backbone of social media. Unfortunately, director Matt Spicer and David Branson Smith’s script comes to a crashing halt at the very end — one that, basically, undermines the movie’s seemingly intended message.
In an effort to avoid spoilers, this review will simply say that a dangerous cliché is presented at the eleventh hour — one that is highly irresponsible, yet, somehow, perfectly fitting for this affair.
Ultimately, INGRID GOES WEST is an enjoyable summer indie flick that entertains before fumbling the ball on the 1-yard line. If not for that misguided ending, the final rating would be a little bit higher.
Three out of Five Beers.