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By Amy Scott | October 9, 2001

Everyone has a website. A friend just sent me a link to “Schneider” from “One Day at a Time”‘s website. Andy Warhol’s famous 15 minutes has been scaled down to 15 free megs. But what would happen if we became so consumed with the internet, that we ceased to exist in the physical world? Would the world become a ghost town of URLS? Could you sign a guestbook if you didn’t exist? Does anyone really know what time it is? Does anyone really care? “Virtu@l Insanity” asks these questions and more.
Set in gorgeous snowy Canada, a hipster web designer, Daniel (Nathaniel Arcand) and his fiance Carey , (Cynthia Knight) travel to his hometown in a first visit back to meet the “folks”. The bustling little ‘burb that Daniel remembers is eerily quiet, a simple card with a web address replaces not just the businesses that he remembers, but the people was well.
Solid camera, pleasing actors (Arcand is distractingly hot) and stunning scenery , but unfortunatly the film falls painfully short in the story department. Like many things on the web, it thinks it’s saying something that it’s not. The characters and scenes aren’t well developed enough for a story like this to work, no matter how hard the actors try. There just isn’t enough time. To move this quickly we need a sort of proof in a physical sense. The “cold isolation” of the empty town isn’t there because, frankly, it doesn’t look empty. No cobwebs. No dust. No papered windows. It just looks like everyone’s at Church. Twilight Zone had 20 minutes to hash out stories like these, and even then they had to resort to cliches to get the ball rolling. The flashbacks of Daniel’s past are stagey and weird which doesn’t help much. The couple’s relationship is well established, but that isn’t really pivotal to the story. His web addiction which would be a pretty important piece of the puzzle, is only barked at us, no signs or hints at all before or after. It seems most of this movie ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor, before it even got on film. Still its an interesting concept and I’d watch 10 minutes of that Nathaniel Arcand guy ironing his Dockers.
This film works, but only in a very limited way. A lot like TV’s Schneider.

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