My Name Is A By Anonymous focuses on several characters including Alyssa (Katie Marsh) and her companion, referred to as The Sidekick (Demi Baumann). These girls spend their days talking trash, hanging around in their desolate town, filming one another on a red camera and occasionally torturing Alyssa's younger brother, Joseph. The girls cut themselves, wear outlandish makeup and talk about boys, sex and even killing. Alyssa taunts her brother and The Sidekick into touching what is supposed to be an electrical fence (although clearly it is not) to show that she is a bully who enjoys inflicting pain on others. Other characters in the film including a lovely young singer called "The Performer" played by Russian singer Teona Dolnikova and a painfully anorexic girl called "The Angst" (Alex Damiano). These same girls are shown either alone in their rooms or in the same town, sometimes even hanging out with Olten, Alyssa and The Sidekick, and they all also constantly film themselves with the same red camera. Their bedrooms are the same room as Alyssa's, although there are some decor changes, and they all seem to have the same dingy bathroom with the same mildew on the walls and the same bottle of shampoo. Are these girls friends of Alyssa's or are they merely different personalities? Who knows? Is the same bathroom/bedroom being used over and over a constraint of a small budget or is director Shane Ryan trying to convey something mysterious here? Their fathers are completely different in appearance, with "The Performer's" father being caring but a little too touchy-feely, while "The Angst's" father is clearly raping her on a regular basis. Meanwhile, Alyssa's parents are completely absent. What is this film trying to tell the viewer? I don't know and really, by the end of the film, I didn't care.
The film work is terrible and while I understand that shaky-cam is an amateur documentary look, this was just terrible. Sometimes the camera would just fall to look at a patch of grass. This wasn't artistic, but seemed more lazy than anything else. Likewise, the audio is pitiful, vacillating between loud and quiet at times. The music playing in the background was at times haunting, others annoying. Sometimes it sounded like Russian folk music, and sometimes it was sing-song, like a dark version of carnival music or "Pop Goes the Weasel." It was ultimately forgettable, and I felt that the times when "The Performer" would sing were just thrown in there as a promo for her musical abilities.
I think they most damning part of the film is the fact that Alyssa shows hesitation and remorse prior to the murder, egging The Sidekick to do it because Alyssa feels she always has to do everything. This seems quite contrary to the attitude she shows throughout the rest of the film and also pretty contrary to what I have read about Bustamante in real life. Basically, I didn't learn anything new about the crime and I didn't enjoy my "peek" into the possible life of this teenager and her friends (or other personalities, or whatever they were). Since the movie didn't make sense to me, I turned to the special features, thinking maybe I would get some explanation or at least a little insight. Nope.
There are some deleted and alternate scenes which were just more of the same footage. There were two alternate cuts of the movie, but again, it was just shorter versions of the same thing. There were two short films, one by Shane Ryan, who was the writer and director of My Name Is A By Anonymous and there was a Japanese horror film about two sisters. One felt like a film school project and the other was just odd. It is also worth noting that I had issues while watching this film on a standard Samsung Blu-ray player. About half of the special features would simply play the same feature film instead of what they were supposed to play. I have no idea why this was the case, but I was able to view them on my PC, although I probably would have preferred to skip them altogether, truth be told.
Overall, I was not impressed with My Name Is A By Anonymous to say the least. It felt "artsy" just for the sake of being different and it was a waste of my time. I don't understand the comparison by someone on the cover to the film Kids because that was actually a good movie. The only parallel is the content concerning troubled teens - the similarities end there. Watch this if you want, but I don't recommend it at all.