“I’m a decent bloke really”
On the ninth day of Christmas, Black Mirror gave to me…a skin-crawlingly dark episode
Even now, at the point where I’m trying to second-guess every episode of Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker is always two, three, four steps ahead of us. With co-writer William Bridges, Shut Up and Dance manages the trick of repeating the key theme of a previous instalment but twisting it just enough so that you never suspect and that the self-referencing doesn’t feel too cheeky a move.
Alex Lawther’s Kenny is a regular teenager, enjoying jerking off to porn on his laptop and getting enraged when his sister borrows said laptop without asking. When he gets it back with a virus on it, he attempts to clean his system but in doing so, unwittingly lets in a hacker who has secretly recorded Kenny’s exertions on his webcam and is threatening to release the vid unless he does exactly as he’s told.
Alex Lawther is brilliant as Kenny, increasingly desperate as the things he is forced to do become more and more extreme, and fold in other people around him, who are apparently under the same level of duress, secrets being manipulated against them by this malevolent hacker. It was nice to see a raft of familiar faces, such Nicola Sloane, Natasha Little and Leanne Best in there but once again, the beauty in Black Mirror is in the places where it dares to go.