I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we actually have a TikTok account now. Give it a follow if you like.
That’s not the point of this story, though. The result of manning our new TikTok account is that I have spent quite a bit of time on TikTok as a result. And in amongst the noise on the app — the memes, the lightning fast tutorials, infinite dances, and honest-to-god musicals, I’ve seen things, things I wish I could delete from my memory.
@unreal_keanu Dressing up like a cool guy #reeves #keanu #dressup ♬ original sound – Unreal Keanu Reeves
This is Unreal_Keanu. The account’s owner, whoever they may be, has created an entire account around making a digital Keanu Reeves act up.
The model used in these videos is the same one from that Matrix Resurrections Unreal Engine 5 demo that dropped shortly before Christmas. Even at the time, the quality of the model’s construction and its excellent motion capture had people wondering if this Keanu model was real.
Well, now he’s a dancing TikTok star, and the effect is eerie.
@unreal_keanu Who is the best dancer?😎 #keanu #reeves #dance #fyp ♬ We Don’t Talk About Bruno – Carolina Gaitán – La Gaita & Mauro Castillo & Adassa & Rhenzy Feliz & Diane Guerrero & Stephanie Beatriz & Encanto – Cast
The quality of the Unreal Keanu model is still tripping the sensors in my brain, leaping back and forward across the uncanny valley. As in the demo, there are moments where the model looks extremely lifelike and moments where it becomes wooden and deadeyed again. The illusion is helped along by deep-fakery to better sell the model’s expressions.
Anyway, it’s fucked up and it freaks me out. I have not followed this account, but it finds me anyway. The algorithm thrusts it into my feed, holding my eyes open like I’m in my own version of A Clockwork Orange. Look at it, says the algo. Look at him gyrate.
@unreal_keanu Dancing is the best cardio #reeves #keanu #beatit ♬ original sound – Scott Jackson
Please, Unreal_Keanu. I need this to stop, for both our sakes.