The hook for micro-budgeted indie film BB reads like many a B-movie thriller: A hard-up woman becomes a web-cam model to make some fast cash, only to find herself being stalked and harassed by an obsessed fan.
BB differs notably from typical direct-to-video genre fare, however, in its presentation. Filmed documentary-style, sans narration, fly-on-the-wall clips of heroine Leah (played by real-life web-cam model Jennifer Mae) are interspersed with found-footage style sequences of her #1 fan Hal (Kristian Hanson) being generally creepy and obsessive. Director/writer/editor CJ Wallis cleverly works around the absence of studio sets and effects through rapid cuts, parallel editing, and musical montages that show Leah’s life spiraling out of control while events build toward the inevitable collision between the protagonist and her tormentor.
According to press material, non-actors were deliberately chosen to lend a raw, real-world feel, and for the most part it works. Jennifer Mae acquits herself rather well in the lead role and gamely goes full-frontal several times, in addition to pounding lots of booze and drugs (we’ll assume that part was simulated) and freaking out a lot. Hanson isn’t quite as natural at emoting for the camera, but he’s far more believable, looks-wise, as a stalker than the generic hunk who would have been cast in a Hollywood production.
As a filmmaker, Wallis is highly creative if still raw in terms of long-form storytelling. The multiple static shots of camera lenses suggest commentary on voyeuristic culture or perhaps the artifice of modern visual media, but neither theme is explored in much depth. Also, it’s hard to figure why Leah is “down on her luck,” stripping and abusing drugs when she seems to have a nice apartment, a relatively new car, and a loving relationship with girlfriend Alina (Victoria Fox). The causes for her life falling apart come across as slightly contrived when her backstory goes unexplained. These flaws are hardly fatal, but more signs of trouble from the outset would have lent credibility to a few of the story turns.
Readers interested in a gritty, raw character drama wrapped in the veneer of the low-budget thriller can check out BB here.