Horror, Cult Movies, Exploitation Cinema, 70s Schlock, and more! Let’s look at something cool every Friday!
“You don’t stream in 4k? That’s ghetto.”
Where I Watched: Shudder
Genre: Posession Horror, Faked Til It Wasn’t Fake Anymore Cautionary Tales
Pedigree: Based on the 2016 short film by the same director.
Synopsis: Drew and his BFF Max make fake exorcism videos that stream live on YouTube. But one night the fake gets a little too real. Why’d a real possession have to happen when Drew’s fiancée steps in as last-minute talent?
Fabulous or Frustrating?: Be careful what wish for… Or in this case, what you pretend you’re doing. More interested in followers than anything else? Well, check this out.
It’s fun to watch how these guys are faking the exorcism, with an effects board filled with smoke, flickering lights, and other goodies. Then things start to get strange – performers missing, crew puking – right before the stream. But everyone’s too focused on the viewership than any weirdness. Then, of course, it’s hard to figure out what’s going on with between the fake and the truth as the “exorcism” gets going.
In between the main plot are scenes of people watching the show. From the White House to Israel, Dallas Texas to Japan, millions tune in as the stream goes on. Then there’s the flashbacks to when Max and Drew were kids in Catholic school. It all ties together as the story progresses, but I did get pulled out of things the first few times these flashes happened.
While the whole live stream thing is novel, the overall “who are we dealing with” is nothing new. Things happen seemingly out of nowhere, even though the why is generally touched upon as things get going. Still, as things start up there’s a feeling of randomness to the plot that could have been avoided with a touch of exposition or a brief flash (or two) of Oh No as the film progressed.
But I’m heartily recommending this anyway. It’s obvious Max and Drew are in way over their heads, and the actors are all in with their performances. The spirit possessing Lane knows it, much to its delight, and Alix Angelis is absolutely amazing as the possessed Lane, commanding attention every moment she’s on screen.
There’s a decent amount of suspense that builds nicely as the stream counts down, coupled with disturbing imagery, and enough gore to really sell the goings on. The onscreen FX and CGI are well done, with a climatic transformation scene that harks back to Demons and Trick r’ Treat. And as with Treat, the cinematography is outstanding, with crisp visuals and gorgeous (or gore-geous) colors throughout. These things alone are worth giving this a watch.
Freak-O-Meter: 4 out of 5 freaks.