Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Deadstream, on Shudder

If you seek attention in a horror movie, you will get attention, but not the kind you want. Shawn Ruddy, a live-streaming un-fluencer agrees to spend the night in a haunted house for followers and sponsors, but the nasty spirits he riles up are far more dangerous than he anticipated in Joseph & Vanessa Winter’s Deadstream, which premieres Thursday on Shudder.

The disgraced Ruddy really screwed-up with some kind of ill-conceived bum-fighting video. Freshly re-platformed and re-monetized, he is hoping his haunted escapade will launch his comeback. Knowing what a scaredy-cat he is, Ruddy chucks his car’s spark plugs into the woods and drops the key to the front door through a grate in the floor. Obviously, he will soon regret doing this.

Evidently, Mildred, a frustrated Mormon Emily Dickinson hanged herself in the house. Subsequently, several kids also met untimely ends in the spooky manor, all of whom start scaring the heck out of Ruddy, which he duly live-streams. That is why he is so surprised when Chrissy, one of his “followers,” crashes the party, even though the evil house is completely locked and boarded up.

shares a similar premise with several previous movies, such as The Deep House (and the graphic novel Creeping), but the execution is so energetic, it often reaches heights of true mania. Granted, Ruddy is a total jerkweed, but co-director-lead thesp Joseph Winter defiantly leans into his cowardly, self-absorbed shortcomings. He also plays off the weirdness Melanie Stone brings as Chrissy quite effectively.

The Winters show us plenty of the online comments and views from various room cams, but they do not rely on those elements as much as other films. The engine driving
Deadstream is truly Ruddy’s idiocy. He really is one of the dumbest, most annoying, altogether irredeemable character you might remember from any film this year—and yet somehow it is entertaining to watch him getting mercilessly terrorized.

Deadstream should not work as well as it does, but the Winters and Stone pull it off anyway. It is snappily sinister and totally cranked up on the sponsor’s sugary energy drinks. There have been plenty of other let’s-film-a-haunted-house movies, but this crazy film rockets along at warp speed. Highly recommended for horror fans, Deadstream starts streaming Thursday (10/6) on Shudder.