HomeFilmArrow Video FrightFest: ‘Deadstream’ review

Arrow Video FrightFest: ‘Deadstream’ review

Disgraced vlogger Shawn Ruddy (Joseph Winter) decides to livestream from a haunted house in a bid to win back his followers. Choosing a house with a well-known history, Shawn sets up camp on his own in a bid to spend a night there but in doing so he manages to disturb a vengeful spirit. As the events unfold, Shawn relies on his livestream followers to help him survive the night and escape the house with his life.

‘Deadstream’ is the latest in an ever-growing line of mockumentary/found-footage films that have flooded the horror genre over the past few years. Writers and directors Joseph and Vanessa Winter, do try to do something different putting a livestream twist on the very familiar genre. The majority of the film is seen through Shawn’s camera but at times the action switches to livestream footage so the viewer can see the comments coming through from Shawn’s followers. This is a nice touch and it also highlights the filter-free approach many on the Internet take when it comes to airing their unasked-for opinion.

‘Deadstream’ starts off solid enough as Shawn arrives at the house following a bit of obligatory set-up that explains why he fell from grace. Initially Shawn is a likeable enough character, clearly clueless about what he’s letting himself in for. This is one of the many comments on the hunger bloggers have to become famous, putting themselves in harm’s way without a second thought, obsessed with growing their base of adoring fans. Before long Shawn discovers obsessive fan Chrissy (Melanie Stone) has found out his location and she decides to join him, uninvited, for the evening.

Once Chrissy arrives, the frights start to come but sadly this is where the film started to fall apart a bit for me. While there are certainly some decent scares, and the visual effects are impressive given the budget, I found parts of the film almost unwatchable as Joseph Winter’s performance became too one-note. Reminiscent of the endless screaming you have to ensure in the original ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ film, ‘Deadstream’ is hampered by Winter screaming and shouting for much of the film’s second half. It was almost headache inducing at times and I felt that his performance could have been more nuanced.

Graham Hughes’ ‘Death of a Vlogger’ set the bar pretty high for the modern crop of found footage films and against that film, ‘Deadstream’ pales in comparison. I admire that the film-makers tried to put their own spin on the found footage genre but there wasn’t enough in here to mark it out from the already crowded sub-genre. A lot less screaming and more development of the plot, would have gone a long way to making this the comedy horror that it very almost manages to be.

Cast: Joseph Winter, Melanie Stone Directors: Joseph Winter & Vanessa Winter Writers: Vanessa Winter & Joseph Winter Certificate: 18 Duration: 87 mins Released by: Shudder

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Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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