Monday 3 October 2022

Horror Film Review: Deadstream ★★★★☆

I know, I know. It's not technically permitted to admit this in the horror community but I wasn't a fan of The Blair Witch Project. Somewhere between the extreme hype and lack of resolution, I was left feeling lukewarm. As a result, I tend to avoid found- or live-footage horror but Deadstream caught my eye and I decided to give it a chance.

Deadstream 2022 | Horror Film Review | Banner

The directorial debut of Joseph and Vanessa Winter, Deadstream is the story of reprehensible video stunt-blogger Shawn Ruddy (Joseph Winter) (possibly the illegitimate lovechild of PewDiePie and Logan Paul), who comes out of forced retirement to go it alone in one of America's most haunted houses. Not the most haunted, you understand, because that would take actual money, but close enough.

Armed with just a head-cam, selfie-cam and his enormous ego, Ruddy acts with increasing stupidity, throwing his spark plugs into the trees and padlocking himself inside the house before throwing the key down a drain.

What could possibly go wrong?

I desperately want to say that the most scary thing about Deadstream is Ruddy's stupidity but I'd absolutely be lying. Let's just agree that deciding to watch the film - in the dark - at 5am on a Sunday morning (thanks insomnia) wasn't my finest 87 minutes. When it wasn't making me jump out of my skin and sending my very grumpy cat scarpering out the room, Deadstream made me cringe and gag in utter revulsion. The special effects might have been cheap but the effects were extremely grim.

For a live-footage horror film, Deadstream is extremely well made. The visuals were great for supposedly taking place in a dark, abandoned house and the plot device of the live video stream was very well done. The comments on the live stream were brilliant and made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion (sorry, cat), especially the one about how Ruddy looked like he'd been in a boxing match with Logan Paul.

Joseph Winter portrays Ruddy to perfection. He's despicable and irredeemable, unlikeable to the max. His 'fans' clearly want Ruddy to die and he's here for that. It helps that Ruddy has such a large catalog of controversies behind him because that helps move the plot along nicely. Special mention also goes to Melanie Stone in her role as Chrissy. No spoilers but there's a point in the film when Chrissy's disposition changes and it was chilling.

I enjoyed Deadstream a lot, much more than I expected to. It was scary and grim enough with a healthy side-helping of humour.

Deadstream 2022 | Horror Film Review
I give Deadstream an excellent four out of five stars. It's the first work I've seen from either Joseph Winter or Vanessa Winter but I'll be interested to see what they do in future. Recommended to fans of found footage, supernatural and comedy horror.

A Shudder Exclusive, Deadstream, premiers Thursday, October 6, 2022

Trailer: Deadstream (2022) dir. Joseph and Vanessa Winter


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