Bullied [2016 Hitesh Appadu Short Film] Review

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AKA: N/A
Genre: Horror/Psychological Drama
Year Released: 2016
Distributor: Himster Productions
Origin: Mauritius
Running Time: 16 minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: 13+
Related Films/Series: N/A
For Fans Of: Ringu/The Ring, Carrie, Ju-On/The Grudge, Shadow Star Narutaru, The Curse of La Llorona, The Devil’s Backbone, Death Note
Notes: 

-Bullied is streaming on YouTube.

Fun Facts:

-Mauritius is an African island that’s next to Reunion and two countries away from Madagascar. The capital is Port Louis and the total population of this country is just over 1.25 million people. It is also one of the few nations outside of the Indian subcontinent where people of Indian descent make up the majority of the population.

-Director Hitesh Appadu has also created the film San Twa Pena Mwa.


Do you want to know what really sucks in this world? Bullying. Many people have certainly dealt with it in different forms whether it’s physical, psychological, or emotional. This can happen anywhere like at schools and in the workplace. Trust me, I learned that the hard way after graduating high school a while ago as I thought my issues with being bullied would disappear once I got my diploma. Whether those who were victims of bullying want to admit it or not, there have been times when they want to get revenge on their bullies.

This little film from the island nation of Mauritius added to that particular dialogue with this horror flick.

Bullied takes place at a local high school on this African island on the Indian Ocean. There’s a freshman girl who’s starting school named Isa who’s quiet and introverted. She becomes an easy target to an upperclassmen group of teenagers who proceed to pick on her in numerous ways. There’s the obvious teasing, but it escalates into pranking her and beating her up. Isa is about to talk to the principal, but the bullies sabotage her attempts to say anything and they go to a nearby abandoned building. They bully her some more until it’s revealed that she falls through a hole in the floor. This makes national news and the bullies want to forget this ever happened a month ago. What they don’t realize is that Isa has returned and is howling for blood.

I’m not sure if this is wish fulfillment of a bully victim getting revenge or an attempt to make a straight-up horror film, but there were things that it got right. The second half of the film certainly amps up the creepiness once this revenge takes place against the bullies which is certainly cathartic, to say the least. The music certainly highlights this and the opening theme has a mid-tempo industrial vibe to it which surprisingly works. I was also surprised with the plot twist in regards to Isa’s return, especially with why she was going to visit the principal, to begin with. It came out of nowhere, but it made sense, and her character even got more tragic in hindsight once she explains what she was about to do. There was some realism with the bullies after Isa falls like how they immediately want to forget everything and play innocent this whole time because most bullies (at least the ones I’ve known) will NEVER admit that they did wrong.



Bullied does falter more often than not to give me a full recommendation. The actors could really improve in their craft. The bullies acted stereotypical like your rich snobby girls and your jock meatheads around them. Isa wasn’t immune from this because she corpses way too much despite her character literally being in pain which killed the mood. After she comes back, she has her hair in her face like she’s Sadako from Ringu (or Samara from The Ring if you only watch the American remakes of J-horror flicks) while making her voice loud most of the time. Looks like she took cues from The Dark Knight version of Two-Face in that regard or the Green Goblin in the first Spider-Man movie, and that’s not a compliment from me (both movies are overrated in my opinion. FIGHT ME!). The action scenes just looked weak from all the parties and lose the impact of some of the horror and even Isa’s revenge. The overall message is way too preachy with the title cards reading “Stop bullying before you become the victim yourself.” at the end. That message isn’t wrong, but I’m sure anyone who went full-on Carrie or for a more obscure example Hiroko Kaizuka from Shadow Star Narutaru against their bullies would be serving hard time in real life no matter how cathartic it would be to get revenge, let’s be honest.

I was underwhelmed by this horror film. While it makes sense to review it as Halloween is around the corner, but not everything is as scary or as impactful as it could’ve been. The acting was cut-rate more often than not. The action scenes would quite subpar. There were some decent plot twists including one I didn’t see coming. The sad part is I can see Bullied as revenge porn for some, but even then there are other films that handled these topics better or at the very least in scarier circumstances. Bullied wasn’t all that impressive to me as a viewer and film critic.


Adjustable Rating System:

Add 1-2 points if you like revenge movies against bullies.
Subtract 1-2 points if you want your horror movies to be scarier.


Pros:

-Some good plot twists
-A few elements of realistic bullying
-Creepy soundtrack

Cons:
-Very preachy with its message
-Mediocre acting and multiple instances of corpsing (SEND FOR THE MAN!)
-Weak-looking action scenes

Final Score: 4/10 points

Content Warning: Bullied is fine for teens and up. There’s some blood and deaths that happen. Isa after her return would certainly scare younger viewers. There’s even the portrayal of insanity which happens to one of the characters in the finale.

-Curtis Monroe

All photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws. Bullied is property of Himster Productions. The screenshot is from YouTube and is property of Himster Productions.

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