When tragedy strikes social media influencer Tyler, he begins to question his own sanity. We take a look at writer-director and actor Andrew Burdette’s feature film Bruh.mp4.
Recent reports have suggested that around 3.5 billion people actively use social media today, which is almost 45% of the world’s population. Inevitably with the growth of new media and the number of people using it there becomes a new type of job creation, which in turn leads to a new type of economy. One of the new jobs that have been created is the role of the social media influencer. Influencers are people who have built or created a high profile for themselves either through knowledge, skill, or celebrity. They increase their profile by making regular posts, videos, or messages online with the hope of generating a large following of enthusiastic and engaged people who pay close attention to their views and therefore can be influenced.
Andrew Burdette’s 65-minute feature Bruh.mp4 focuses on two mid-level influencers called Tyler and Robbie. Their channel has a quarter of a million followers and is full of short videos, daft sketches, and pranks that they perform together. These two characters are so well performed by writer/director Burdette as Tyler and Dante Singleton as Robbie that I had to double-check to make sure that they weren’t actually real social media personalities. The opening five minutes of Bruh.mp4 are a whirlwind of quick cuts and choppy edits that focuses on Tyler and Robbie’s video channel and manages to give us a real sense of social media chaos.
Our screens fill with colourful social media shorthand, including hundreds of emoji’s, likes, hearts and comments that pop up all over the place. The constant image of self-promotion is always visible with @tyler_and_robbie watermarked throughout the beginning salvos. It’s an opening full of energy and urgency that gives the film a truly modern look. We will make sporadic visits to the boys’ channel throughout the film’s runtime and each time it works just as effectively as the last. During this energetic opening, we are introduced to Rebecca (played by Alexis Abrams) and Julia Meadows’ Izzy, these are Tyler and Robbie’s partners, loving girlfriends who are really happy and enthusiastic about being associated with semi-famous You Tubers. Meadows has the showier role as Robbie’s girlfriend but both her and Abrams are likable characters who keep the story and their men grounded in reality and eventually provide them with redemption.
As the plot progresses, Tyler and Robbie find themselves filming a prank in the forest, and when they come across a menacingly angry local, it is then that the film suddenly takes a detour into much darker territory. Director Burdette’s screenplay covers all sorts of genre’s from comedy to thriller to mystery to psychological drama and his writing manages to make it all clear. We don’t follow the story so much as get dragged along by it and, as Tyler begins to fall apart and then come to terms with his mental state, we feel that we have been through the wringer with him, all thanks to the emotional central performance from the film’s director and lead actor.
Bruh.mp4 is an excellent film, not just because of its visual cleverness and tonal shifts, but because on a low budget, it has been very well made. There are a few teething problems with regards to the sound mix and its design and there is the occasionally awkward lighting choice but they don’t deter from the overall feel and, what we can take away from this impressive debut is that Andrew Burdette is a genuine movie triple threat.