The found footage subgenre has always had a special place in horror, largely due to the fact that we tend to be more afraid of things that look like they might be real. It’s also why so many horror films stretch the meaning of “based on true events” to convince audiences that their boring supernatural flick is all-out. In the case of found footage, the subgenre also has the advantage of being ridiculously cheap compared to horror in general. And horror is already cheap compared to other genres. It’s no wonder then that the market is flooded with found footage horror, and even less surprising that most of these films neither scare nor entertain. But that’s what watching is all about death stream such a nice surprise. death stream is more than great found footage; It’s one of the best horror movies of the year, period.
death cry follows a Youtuber named Shawn (Joseph Winter) who gets his lucrative views by putting himself in all sorts of dangerous situations. One Halloween, Shawn decides to spend an entire night in a haunted house with only his live stream audience to keep him company. Shawn is loud, self-absorbed and obnoxious, and Joseph Winter pours his heart and soul into the role of a very credible Youtuber. As a result, following Shawn for his entire live stream can be a chore. That doesn’t detract from Joseph Winter’s acting skills because let’s face it, those who get millions of views usually just scream louder than everyone else. And the more controversial they are, the more money they make. Shawn is the perfect example of how media culture rewards toxic personalities, and the fact that it’s so easy to wish for trouble for him only makes his supernatural adventure all the more satisfying. That’s because Shawn will suffer. A lot of. In a very entertaining way.
Although too many details would spoil the experience, it’s safe to say death stream is not afraid to be funny. From the moment Shawn promises his audience that he’ll provoke the abandoned house spirits into manifesting, we already know his Halloween prank is about to take a macabre turn. Still, it’s impossible to guess how far death stream ready to torment Shawn. But instead of turning Shawn into a martyr, death stream explores his unhappiness while embracing good old campy fun. Mimics the horror-comedy tone of classics such as evil Dead and Tucker & Dale vs Evil, death stream has hidden some great horrors in its darkest corners, but most of all it will make you laugh out loud at its absurd concept while blood and guts stain the screen red.
The crazy story of death stream can only work because of its unique found footage approach. As well as Unfriended pushed the boundaries of the subgenre by building an entire movie around a group video call, death stream gets creative using the shot of a youtuber live stream. Because Shawn is so successful, he comes to the haunted house fully equipped. Aided by his sponsors, Shawn brings several security cameras that he spreads throughout the haunted house, using tablets, laptops, and a special wristband to cut between different angles. death streamShawn’s story unfolds in real-time as we follow every second of Shawn’s experience. That means we watch as the Youtuber sets up cameras, names them, and interacts with his audience to find out how he stays alive. Everything is surprisingly smooth and interactive, and works like a live stream. The fact that Shawn can play around with new cameras and angles during his live stream also helps keep things fresh, and death stream does some things that no other found footage has tried before.
Shawn’s live stream setup also helps death stream to keep his pace as there simply aren’t any cuts to break the immersion. But most found footage movies are just collections of shorter clips death stream grabs the audience by the hand and doesn’t let go until the credits roll. Every time a new camera comes into play, it’s important to Shawn’s personal story, which increases the global quality of death stream and serves as evidence of the strict guidance of Joseph and Vanessa Winters. The duo also wrote death stream together. And since Joseph Winter plays the film’s main character, they retain full creative control death stream. The strategy paid off, like death stream is one of the best horror surprises of the year. The feat is even more impressive when we consider that this is Joseph Winter’s feature film debut as a director, while Vanessa Winter had only directed one other feature film, the TV movie The devil is behind me.
With a running time of 87 death stream stays no longer welcome either, ending Shawn’s adventure before his annoying Youtuber persona becomes unbearable. The live stream format might turn off some horror fans due to its realism – there’s a reason many of us avoid this type of content at all costs. Even so, the end result is so imaginative that death stream worth a watch even for people who aren’t usually fans of the found footage format. It’s amazing how many crazy ideas Joseph and Vanessa Winter were able to cram into one film and we’ll be watching their careers closely from now on.
death stream debuts October 6th on Shudder. Check out the trailer of the film below:
https://collider.com/deadstream-review-found-footage-horror/ Found Footage Horror Pushes Boundaries with Frights, Fun