Assassination Nation

Film, Thrillers
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
Assassination Nation

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Gonzo feminist shocks meets male-gaze fantasy. Feminism comes out on top – just.

With an aesthetic that splices together Vice, a 17-year-old’s Insta feed, and a whole Urban Outfitters floor’s worth of ’90s redux fashions, Sam Levinson’s horror flick feels vividly, effortfully 2018. It’s a woker-than-woke, Gen Z-focused tale of a gang of teenage girls who take on their entire town after they’re wrongly blamed for a data leak. 

‘Assassination Nation’ might look modish but there’s nothing new about the misogyny it centres on. It’s set in a suburb called Salem – appropriately, given the witch hunt which swirls around its four female leads after an anonymous hacker exposes the town’s men for the sext-happy perverts they are. Alas, Levinson’s approach to this put-upon posse is a little backwards-looking, too. These girls spout a whole Twitter-feed worth of feminist debates. But this is still a film that relies less on three-dimensional female personalities, and more on the visual lure of their bodies in bum-skimming hotpants – and on the looming threat of the men who hunt them down. 

Where the legendary Burn Book in ‘Mean Girls’ unleashed untold teen feels, we’re expected to believe that this one-dimensional sisterhood barely wavers in the face of a tidal wave of gossip and violence. Still, what ‘Assassination Nation’ lacks in nuance, it makes up for in hyperactive, hit-and-miss creativity.

These girls’ instant-messenger convos flit across the screen in real time, adding suspense to satisfyingly gory scenes where they magically always come out on top. In twenty-first-century Salem, the witches hunt back. 

By: Alice Saville



Release details

Release date:
Friday November 23 2018
107 mins

Cast and crew

Sam Levinson
Sam Levinson
Odessa Young
Hari Nef
Suki Waterhouse

Users say (1)

4 out of 5 stars
1 person listening

This one was a resounding YASSS from me (and the LFF audience, who burst into spontaneous applause at the end)!

The strong female friendships the film is based around are refreshingly blunt, and the characters’ refusal to apologise for their sexual liberation feels like a remedy for the US’s current trend towards conservatism.

The issues of misogyny the film tackles are not diminished by the outfits of the protagonists, in my opinion, because when we start to critique a film based on what the young women wear - and what they wear is a reflection of the insta-aesthetic of the film as a whole - then we buy into the culture of shaming young women for their freedoms.

Assassination Nation is a very, very enjoyable film. It’s properly modern, slick, and shocking. And it’s also horribly plausible.

Well worth watching.