I’M JUST F*CKING WITH YOU
Starring: Hayes MacArthur, Jessica McNamee, Keir O’Donnell
Director: Adam Mason
Writers: Scott Barkan, Gregg Zehentner
Larry, you have been judge-mented.
I’m Just F*cking With You (2019), which first premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival March 10, 2019, became available on Hulu April 5, 2019, as the latest entry in Hulu’s Into the Dark series. As someone who has watched but not really enjoyed each of the Into the Dark films to date, I was excited yet not too hopeful about a new addition. That quickly changed, as I can confidently say that I’m Just F*cking With You is the best of the Into the Dark films to date.
Have you ever had an unsettling hotel stay? Do you know a person that always takes jokes a little too far? Chances are you probably answered yes to at least one of these questions. And that’s precisely what makes I’m Just F*cking With You stick. It’s a story we know all too well. There is no shortage of horror films that take place at a secluded hotel. But it’s hard to name even a handful that bring comedy and an endless sequence of pranks into the equation.
Larry, played by Keir O’Donnell (Wedding Crashers, American Sniper), arrives at the Pink Motel & Lounge — where he is staying for his ex-girlfriend and first cousin’s wedding. His sister Rachel, played by Jessica McNamee (The Meg, Battle of the Sexes), is also staying at the hotel. Only, when she doesn’t arrive on time, Larry begins to spiral. He’s certain that Chester has something to do with Rachel’s delayed arrival. Chester, played by Hayes MacArthur (Super Troopers 2, Angie Tribeca), is the quirky desk clerk/barman, who enjoys taking jokes to their breaking point. If they don’t end in criminal activity, is it even a good joke? Chester doesn’t think so.
What makes I’m Just F*cking With You work in terms of plot structure and development is that it is very much rooted in psychological horror. Larry suspects that Chester did something, but he doesn’t know for sure. Larry thinks that Chester is being serious, but he doesn’t know for sure. Larry wants to believe that Chester is just looking for friendship, but he doesn’t know for sure. At no point in the film do you feel safe or that you have Chester figured out. This is due in large part to MacArthur’s brilliant acting. He is an unpredictable, psychotic prankster who could very much be the Joker’s spawn. The other two main players in this film, Larry and Rachel, are also given stellar performances by O’Donnell and McNamee, respectively.
Excellent acting also needs strong writing, and Scott Barkan and Gregg Zehentner definitely deliver. The lines flow seamlessly and believably, and at no point are you taken out of the story by dialogue that falls flat. The way that Larry’s background as a troll is layered in with the rest of the narrative is also a really strong point of the story, and his confession at the end is surprisingly affecting. To save the best for last, I have to say that I absolutely love the aesthetic of I’m Just F*cking With You. From the pop-art style opening sequence, neon lights, and drug-induced experiences, this is a trippy, beautiful movie from start to finish.