Y2K Review


It happened: I watched my uniquely American childhood vividly and embarrassingly depicted on screen. Kyle Mooney’s Y2K brings us back to the last day of December 1999 when playlists were burned onto CD-Rs and pornographic images downloaded a few pixels per minute. The millennials know that it was all for nothing, but Mooney pictures a world where maverick cyber consciousness did eventually turn out to be an apocalyptic problem. Co-written by Evan Winter, this hilarious A24 disaster comedy is about raging against machines while getting laughs from late-90s nostalgia that rarely lets up.

The movie starts off like one of those teen sex comedies starring two oddballs in a suburbia; Eli (Jaeden Martell), and Danny (Julian Dennison). It does not appear as though either one of them will be happy with their Nintendo 64-oriented New Year’s plans so Eli gets some awful vodka courage to attend a classmate’s party. It is where she makes her appearance on her computer–hacking crush Laura (Rachel Zegler), and maybe gets that midnight kiss too. At the stroke of midnight, instead of chugging beer from Solo cups to celebrate the New Year, teenagers stop drinking altogether— and then it happens. This isn’t the widespread computer shutdown that Y2K-bug true believers warned of. Instead, electrical appliances and online devices start slaughtering houseguests, prompting Eli and his crew to seek safety away from the sentient Battlebots.

Mooney’s time at Saturday Night Live forms a base for Y2K’s focus on fun. It is hardly ever scary; given its lightness, it could be considered along the lines of horror-comedy such as This Is The End. Wētā Workshop gives the movie some impressive monsters made of wires and screens but Tamagotchis drilling holes in rave kids’ heads are hardly their most devilish creations. The hardest thing to look at is that it has been 24 years since Sisqo’s “Thong Song” topped the charts and Y2K enables Mooney to lovingly roast the turn of the millennium with a flood of generational earworms. Unlike vintage AOL Instant Messenger sounds and rap-rock anthems, that gag never grows old. It’s not an “only ’90s kids will remember” gimmick; filled with authentic computer desktops and dialogue inspired by Fred “Break Stuff” Durst’s poetic lyrics. This time may seem strange and alien now but not for Mooney.

The delightful cast that features Martell and Zegler keeps up with all that (and to be fair, a number of beheadings) while understanding how whimsically serious this project is. Y2K is funny as disaster movies go, but it is essentially still a disaster movie, and the young cast can balance X-Games jokes against life-or-death decisions where their internet-bred adversaries become larger and more deadly—like an army of Katamaris absorbing ever more tech. The reliable Dennison does great as a confident class clown while Martell plays awkwardly geeky next to Zegler’s ever-charming cool girl. These three are the film’s centering force which allows supporting actors like Eduardo Franco (as a skater-punk wearing a Tool T-shirt) or Lachlan Watson (as a Limp Bizkit lover) to shine through their performances. Mooney’s dreadlocked stoner video store clerk feels straight out of one of his YouTube videos, indicative of the easygoing nature he maintains throughout this film.

Mooney’s previous works, such as Brigsby Bear and Saturday Morning All-Star Hits! by Sundance and Netflix respectively, recreate former pop culture fashions without being seen to try too hard, as Y2K does. In doing so, the ensemble of users including Gooding, Silverstone, and Heidecker captures all elements of their stereotypes at the end of the twentieth century. Mooney and Winter go deeper into stupidity than Weta did in making ‘Walking Dead machines’ fighting against human digital desires for them to be repulsive slaves. Cheesy genre cliches are what make Mooney create films with themes such as intense hacker montages or The Matrix-style boss battles. It is only still of its time (and shot by none other than Matrix cinematographer Bill Pope) – as is the film’s awesome cameo pull. As a result, Y2K becomes first a crowd-pleasing time capsule that must become second only to the digital singularity rising. Remember this when you’re laughing over long-game condom jokes instead of admiring how well they set up civilization’s fall.


Y2K is a hilarious rewriting of history set to a soundtrack of Korn and awkward teenage rebellion. Kyle Mooney brings us back to a time when you couldn’t surf the net while making a phone call and does so with an outstanding sense of humor. A cast led by Jaeden Martell and Rachel Zegler takes their predicament seriously but shines in moments like mid-apocalypse group singalongs to Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping.” Based on that, you’re correct to assume Y2K is a deadly unserious disaster comedy featuring fantastic cyber-monster effects and humor inspired by the time period. Who knows, maybe this humorous, A24-produced, web-based hellraiser will usher in a new normal for onscreen throwbacks to the 2000s – a boy who still listens to Significant Other can dream.

Also, Read On Fmovies

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *