Chain Letter is one of those films that leave you wondering why it was made. It gives the impression of having been made without Deon Taylor and his co-writer/co-producer/supporting actor Michael J. Pagan having any clear concept of what they were making a film about if they did, they certainly do little to convey it to the audience. The film feels as though Taylor and Pagan had a vague idea of wanting to say something about how the interconnectivity revolution of the 00s was starting to overtake the world the prevalence of internet communication, online gaming, the geometric growth in the use of cellular phones and simply grafted this onto the formula of a slasher film.
Ones hopes for Chain Letter sink from the opening credits sequence that edits together a frenetic montage of images and headlines about GPS tracking, identity phishing, havoc wreaked by hackers, images of the Unabomber, dubious connections to terrorism and mocked-up headlines like Is Technology Ruining America, even rather laughably the spectre of the Y2K bug, while moments later Brad Dourifs professor gives simplistically minded lectures on information privacy. This seems like a vision of technological alarmism that comes from people who know very little about said technology beyond how to answer emails there is a laughable scene where the characters suddenly realise that GPS means that anybody can be tracked and one character explains You phone has a bill that goes to a company it has your address on it, which everyone reacts to with shock realisation and this is then somehow taken to explain that the killer can track anybody anywhere. Yet despite all of this, we cannot even be sure if Taylor and Pagan are saying that the reliance on such technology is a bad thing for all the films setting itself around such technology prevalence and the alarmist associations made in the opening scenes, Chain Letter has astonishingly little to say about it.
Outside of the vague themes about technology, all that we have is the good old standby of the modern teens in peril film, where Deon Taylor follows a tried and true slasher formula. Certainly, Taylor makes the film as gory as hell. There is a particularly nasty scene where Matt Cohen gets the top of his head sawed off via a chain ripped through his mouth. Later Noah Segan has his head splattered when the killer drops the engine block of a car onto him.
However, there is no explanation of who the killer is or why they are bandaged. For reasons that are never explained, the killer wields chains as a motif the only reason for this seems to be the rather absurd homonymic one where this is meant to connect up to the fact that they also send out chain letters. For that matter, the idea of killing all people who fail to send out chain letters is absurd if you consider the idea of killing everyone on a list who fails to send five copies out, then mathematics say that within a matter of days you would need an army of killers to keep up with the victim count. The film reaches an abrupt ending that seems to come to a halt with an entire third act missing and lacks any proper confrontation with the cult behind the killings, or even opportunity to expose and explain who or what they are.