Plot: Ava (Chelsea Kane) has found some success in her music career, thanks to a music video that went viral and earned her a sizable fan base. But she seems unhappy in some ways, as the song that was a hit isn’t one of her favorites and she wants the music to be the reason for her fame, not just a video. As she turns down new opportunities, she feels some pressure to change her vision of her career and in an effort to shake that pressure, she takes a spontaneous trip to the countryside. She hopes to relax, recharge, and work on some new music, away from all the noise and pressure. Once she arrives, she meets a friendly local named Xavier (Nolan Gerard Funk) who teaches her how to pump gas before wishing her well. She isn’t an experienced driver, so when weather makes the roads very slick, she loses control and crashes. When she wakes up, Xavier is at her side and tells her the storm has taken out phone lines and closed roads. He seems to be the kindest person Ava has ever known, but is his care truly altruistic, or is there a darker side to this friendly stranger?
Entertainment Value: A kind of Instagram generation take on Misery, #PopFan might not be all that original, but it is a fun watch and hits all the desired beats. Chelsea Kane is our lead and she turns in a terrific performance, giving us a much more dynamic persona than the usual damsel in distress. Ava is not the kind of woman to wait on a savior to arrive, so having a proactive and strong lead like this adds a lot to the movie, while Kane brings it to life quite well. She conveys strength and will to survive, but also a tenderness and vulnerability, rock solid work here. On the other side of the coin we have Nolan Gerard Funk as our villain and he is quite good as well, dripping creepiness and cringe inducing social skills. A movie like this needs that slimy, unstable captor and Funk delivers that here. This is a Lifetime movie, so there’s melodrama and the men are either creeps or useless, but this one does dial up the creepiness a little overall and that helps paint just how unsettling Xavier’s plan is. In the end, #PopFan might be predictable, but it puts a more up to date spin on a well worn tale and in the process, gives us a movie that isn’t high art, but still a fun watch.
This is Lifetime, so no graphic sexual content, but the movie does make sure we know what a total creeper Xavier is. He is an unstable, obsessed dude and his weird music video shoot definitely has a sleazy vibe. A little blood is seen, thanks to some gun based violence, while some other assorted injuries pop up as well. A tumble down the stairs, physical assault, and Xavier always seems on the brink of abusing Ava in one way or another, but none of this is ever graphic or gratuitous. As for dialogue, Xavier is a goldmine for creepy, awkward, and cringe level moments, as his desperation seeps from every line and mannerism. Ava has a smart mouth and isn’t shy about her thoughts, so she has some fun lines as well. I don’t think there’s a lot of big, quotable lines per se, but enough general melodrama and dysfunction to earn some points. The craziness scale gets bumped a little here, between Xavier’s uber creeper status and some of the more odd plot choices. Not as melodramatic or over the top as some Lifetime movies, but it never fails to holds your attention.
Overall Insanity: 2/10