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I've been threatening to do this for a while now and I suppose it is time. Despite me swearing that I'd never force myself to sit th...

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Deadstream (2022)

I think that I may be internet hip now! I mean I’ve already covered a movie about influencers getting knocked up by an alien while worrying about posting their lives online and I sort of liked it. The movie was The Seed in case you are wondering. As an old crusty guy that was reluctant to use Facebook and Twitter this is a huge surprise for me. Now I’m covering Deadstream which is all about a disgraced YouTuber trying to get his viewers back by pulling a stunt involving a haunted house. Is this my new normal? Am I going to want to watch stuff like this now? Stay tuned to find out.

We meet Shawn as he is apologizing to his audience for doing something bad. He was suspended, lost his sponsors, and many of his viewers. But he is back and trying to be better, or so he says. His gimmick is that he does stuff he is genuinely terrified of doing and then records and comments on it to the delight of his viewers. His big comeback plan is to spend a night alone livestreaming from a haunted house. We watch him arrive and set up cameras all while talking to the viewers with a message system. If you have ever seen a livestream, you know what I’m referring to. It doesn’t take long for things to get spooky.

Now that is a cool looking ghost!
The rest of the movie is him being terrified of the ghostly figures moving around the house that he can see on his screen but not always with his eyes. This is a neat gag that they use to great effect. There is also a super fan named Chrissy that shows up but it quickly becomes obvious she isn’t who we think she is. With the help of the folks watching him online he figures out that he has accidentally given the evil of the house his soul and sorts out how to get it back. Though the ending makes it obvious it might not be that simple.

Let me be clear about this. The entire internet influencer/livestreaming thing still annoys me in real life. But a story like this in the hands of a quality filmmaker is a good time. Deadstream gets us right to the good stuff and never lets up. I like how they started the story off with us watching Shawn walk around the house setting up his cameras while he showed videos and pictures of earlier events to set the mood. It gets around the plot hole that bugs me in a lot of these movies where any reasonable person would bail at the first sight of hauntings. We get to see the old stuff but by the time it becomes real for Shawn, he has already locked himself in. I also want to mention that making the character know he is a big coward and showing the audience that he tosses his spark plugs away in the woods and the key to the padlock he used on the front door down a heating vent makes it easier to by then the sudden “er Mer Gerd the car won’t start!” nonsense we normally get in a movie like this. Both show that some thought and effort went into the script and story. I can’t help but to appreciate that.

Bravely running away...
I was also very pleased by how great the jump scares are. The movie doesn’t overdo it but we do have a lot of tension built up and then released with some fun scares. It can be as simple as a coat hanging on a rack, to footsteps and a door opening. I won’t spoil the really good scares as that defeats the purpose of this review, spoilers I’m going to recommend Deadstream. The ghosts in their various forms are done with latex appliances with what I think is a tiny CGI assist. The fact that I can’t tell for sure should be an indication of how well it was done.

I also debated about mentioning this next bit but I feel I have to. This movie is funny at times, especially in the way that it beats the hell out of our main character Shawn. The fact that he is also scared out of his mind and constantly trying to psych himself up had a real Evil Dead vibe to it. Now in no way am I saying this is on par with what I consider an all-time classic, but I’m also not unwilling to make that comparison. There is something fun about this movie that I think is going to stick with me.

As of the writing of this review the movie is streaming on Shudder. Not only do I love that service and recommend signing up for it as it is worth every penny, but Deadstream alone is worth a month’s subscription fee. This is a perfect addition to anyone’s Halloween tradition.

 

© Copyright 2022 John Shatzer

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