In Robert Mockler’s Like Me, Fessenden is caught in the crosshairs of an Internet fame-hungry, teenage psychopath doing a downward spiral via her social media feed. The film opens with Kiya (Addison Timlin) holding up a drive-thru market and streaming the robbery live for her insatiable viewers to witness—the beginning of an endless parade of bad decisions. When that stunt goes viral overnight to the tune of over two million hits, she’s emboldened and goes on a days-long crime spree for new likes, eventually ending up at an oceanside motel where she pulls its pedophile owner (Fessenden) into a cyclone of force-fed junk food, drugs, and other doled-out abuses.
If Fessenden’s name is unfamiliar, you’re likely to be forgiven by his loyal followers. Perhaps a far cry from a household name, he’s nevertheless considered a true original. As an actor, Fessenden has worked under such giants as Martin Scorsese, Jim Jarmusch, and Neil Jordan. As a producer, he has worked with the likes of Ti West on The House of the Devil (2009) and The Innkeepers (2011), and Kelly Reichardt on Wendy and Lucy (2006) and Certain Women (2016). Speaking of things that could’ve been, it’s no less impressive that Guillermo del Toro once tapped the guy to co-write and direct an English-language remake of The Orphanage (2007), before it no doubt got gunked up in Hollywood’s gears. And when he’s not busy directing his own award-winning work—Habit (1997), Wendigo (2001), and The Last Winter (2006)—Fessenden nurtures promising voices, such as West and Mockler, under the umbrella of his production company, Glass Eye Pix.
Next up for the prolific filmmaker are starring roles in Bridey Elliott’s Clara’s Ghost, Michael Vincent’s Only a Switch, and Eric Pennycoff’s Sadistic Intent. The latter concerns a pair of metal musicians that lure a young woman to a secluded mansion, hoping it will inspire their next album.
This is a companion piece to our in-depth Q&A with Mockler.
Like Me opens in select theaters today.