Disgraced YouTube stars are a dime a dozen, as it is pretty damn easy to become a ‘persona-non-grata’ in this day and age. The disposable nature of online fame has created a whole sub-genre of people that are easy to despise–their attempts at redemption likely to serve to keep them in the spotlight of mockery. This is where the fictionalized, once popular, IRL streamer Shawn comes into the picture, a man on a mission to reclaim his stardom by heading to a haunted house and mocking the dead all in the name of views and super-chats. The result? Exactly as you would hope and more than you could have wished for.
With all the charisma of a 3 AM streamer, the contempt for the IRL streamer becomes apparent from the opening minutes of the film. For those unfortunate enough to be ‘in the know’ of this kind of content, his line delivery mimics the infamous Jay Station, a YouTuber of questionable kid content who faced heavy public scrutiny for faking his girlfriend’s death for clicks. Certainly, the directing duo pulled inspiration for this character from a mix of those cringe YouTube prank/3 AM channels as well as IRL streamers who beg for money in exchange for public embarrassment. In short, the majority of viewers will want to see Shawn dead after just a couple of lines of dialogue.
However, the obnoxious persona ends up feeding brilliantly into the dark humor which really amps up in the second act once demons start popping up to spook and torment the streamer. Consequently, when Deadstream starts to hit those comedic beats the audience will forget his insufferable personality, as his idiotic reasoning and poor decision-making lead to truly disgusting consequences. Furthermore, some of these horrors give an air of sympathy in not wanting anyone subjected to such acts–no one should be drowned in their own piss or caught by a surprise bite attack to the crotch.
There is an obvious comparison in Deadstream to The Evil Dead, as it seems that filmmakers Vanessa and Joseph Winter drew heavy inspiration from the film–the monsters closely mimicking the famous ‘deadites’. Taking the 80’s cheese and filtering it through the found footage format is a recipe for a modern cult classic. It is crass, over-the-top, gory, and incredibly f***ing funny.
The only critique that can be leveled against the production is the slow start and the insufferable nature of the cringe IRL streamer (kudos to Joseph Winter for taking on the persona of a YouTuber known for horrible pranks and childish screams when confronted by anything out of the norm). Ultimately, the rocky start is a distant memory when the s*** hits the fan–it becomes so perfectly chaotic and disgusting.
The effects also call back to classic horror of the 80’s with some ghastly creature designs and effects that are filled with all sorts of vile bile and chunky kroovy. The way the production transitions from haunted to full-on freak show is such a giddy experience that fans of the bygone era of horror will be thrust into the wonderful experience Deadstream offers.
A true treat at this year’s Overlook Film Festival, the film has already been picked up by Shudder so the chaos will soon be available for the masses. This is the perfect midnight movie to enjoy with friends; make sure it stays on your radar and pick it up when it becomes readily available.
We Watched Deadstream as Part of The Overlook Film Festival 2022 Line-up
Past Festival Coverage
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