I know I’d seen the cover for the 2021 film DARK WEB: CICADA 3301 before. I assumed it was some generic shitty hacker thriller, so I paid it no mind. But when I was working on my review of FAST X I noticed it on the filmography of Alan Ritchson – he’s not only in it as an actor, but he directed and co-wrote it. That’s right, Reacher himself, from the TV show Reacher. I had to know what kind of a movie Reacher would direct, so I watched it.
It’s not a great movie, but it’s an interesting one. The cover really doesn’t capture the feel of the thing, which is very smart alecky, though more of a thriller with a sense of humor than an all-out comedy. The marketing team might’ve been counting on people knowing what the title referred to, which I did not. It sounds like the corniest name ever if you don’t know “Cicada 3301” is a mysterious internet puzzle thing that’s famous as far as mysterious internet puzzles things go. I guess these very difficult puzzles were posted between 2012 and 2014, claiming to be designed to find “highly intelligent individuals” for some unknown purpose, and only 2 of the 3 have ever been solved. Wikipedia says that “the puzzles focused heavily on data security, cryptography, steganography, and internet anonymity,” whatever that means. Rumors grew that they were a recruiting tool for an intelligence agency, a hacker group, or a secret society. This movie imagines one explanation and follows some characters trying to solve the puzzles. (read the rest of this shit…)