Review: Where’s Kate?

Written and directed Keith Macri, while attending a dinner party, a group of friends begin to suspect their co-worker has murdered his ex-girlfriend based on social media algorithms and AI suggestions. Starring: Joshua Mormann, Kat Evans, Shayna LaHaise, Zac Biesiada, Erik Freitas and Lisa Lam.

The film’s opening feels like a perfect parody of American mysteries, not only for its peek at the ending, highlight style set-up but also for the dialogue. It impressively manages to both poke fun with its black comedy and tap into the tension and suspense that the style brings. There’s a casual nonchalance to its comedy, it feels natural and slightly backhanded in a pleasantly sarcastic way. The writing paces out the story well, ramping it up as time goes on. It sets a great balance between its comedy and creating genuine mystery. The cherry on top is that it sincerely provides a satisfying conclusion, it doesn’t simply stop at being funny, the story is well thought out to the end.

Macri’s directorial style matches the tone of the story well, helping to enhance that touch of suspense. Considering the film mostly takes place in just one room, Macri makes great use of the space; it never feels claustrophobic because of its mix of different angles and editing (also by Macri) to keep things flowing smoothly. It’s topped with a score that again feels like it’s both playing with the parody but also benefiting from it, creating a solid atmosphere that convincingly conveys the tone of mystery.

The actors make for a strong team, embracing the comedy’s sarcastic side with its slightly cheesy edge without ever losing their sincerity. It’s not an easy task to play with this style of comedy convincingly but this ensemble walks the line well. There’s no stand-out performance as they work so well as a team, they bring through a great mix of anxiety, nervousness, paranoia, confidence and some amateur sleuthing that asks a lot of questions about our society’s relationship with the internet. The cast perfectly encapsulates the modern perspective, putting forth the idea of whether we now trust algorithms and AI over actual humans, showing how much things have changed since the day’s of the internet being regarded as untrustworthy information. Though it does have a very good point about how much can be discovered about a person through their search history, on both sides, it can’t give you the whole picture but you can start to piece things together.

Where’s Kate? is funny, original and relevant. It impressively manages to feel like both a parody and a genuine mystery, while you may think its focus is on comedy, it still has a satisfying revelation heading your way. The actors are a brilliant ensemble, they all play off each other perfectly and do exceptionally well to not make the story feel silly or too cheesy, creating a balance that approaches that line but never crosses it. It’s well directed and edited to push that vein of suspense and mystery to round out the story, it doesn’t limit itself to simply comedy. It asks a very good question of, if the internet tells you one thing but a person tells you another, who would you believe?

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯ ½ | 9/10

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