Synopsis: When an internet company decides to investigate a series of ‘Screamer’ videos, they are confronted with havoc and hell they could never expect.
Release Date: April 13, 2018 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Horror, Mystery
You know those internet videos that tell you to look real closely at part of the screen, and as soon as you’re concentrating, you’re blasted with a horrifying face (usually a still of Regan from The Exorcist) and an eardrum-shattering scream? Yeah, someone made a horror movie about those videos, and it’s called #Screamers.
#Screamers (pronounced “Hashtag Screamers”) is about an internet company called Gigaler.com (and yes there is a real tie-in website there) that has a business model which is suspiciously close to that of YouTube, where users upload videos for other users to consume and enjoy. When a pair of these “screamer” videos are uploaded, they become the biggest thing that the site has going, so the Gigaler team tracks down the makers and offers them an exclusive deal. Only there’s a lot more to the videos than the Gigaler crew realizes, and they soon find themselves caught up in a mystery involving missing girls, centuries-old serial killers, and spooky rural houses.
Although the cast of #Screamers is experienced, there are no huge names in the film, it’s just mainly a bunch of television character actors, but because the story is presented in a found footage/faux-documentary style, the fresh faces help with the film’s authenticity. The movie was written by director Dean Matthew Ronalds (Netherbeast Incorporated) and Tom Malloy (who wrote The Alphabet Killer and also appears as one of the main characters in #Screamers), and it seems more scripted than your typical Paranormal Activity clone, which makes the story flow a bit more smoothly. It unfolds more slowly than the average horror movie, taking its time setting up the action and getting to where it’s going, giving the impression that it was originally a much shorter movie. But patience is rewarded, because once #Screamers starts rolling, there’s no slowing it down again.
It’s a pretty straight forward plotline, but #Screamers does have a surprisingly fluid story arc. It spends much of the first act just introducing the characters and setting up the day-to-day of their business, with the second act devoted to the overall mystery aspect of the film and the crew’s Scooby-Doo way of trying to solve it, and, finally, the third act getting balls-to-the-wall crazy. And by the time it gets to that inevitable final scene, it feels a very long way from the tech startup office at which the whole thing began. #Screamers is a journey.
In the end, #Screamers‘ Catfish-meets-The Blair Witch Project schtick works. There’s nothing fancy about it, but that’s usually the case with found footage movies. #Screamers is entertaining, however, and that is a quality that is reserved for only the best found footage movies.
Predictably, most (if not all) of the scares in #Screamers are just like the ones that are found in the titular screamer videos. That’s not saying that they’re not effective; there’s a reason why those damn videos get us each and every time. But, the scares are a one-trick pony, derived from a sudden appearance of a masked ghoul and a loud sound. The scares are set up well, with tons of tension and suspense, so that the audience knows what’s coming, but not exactly when, until it’s too late and the shriek hits them. Just like a real screamer video. And also just like a screamer video, the moment of paralyzing fear is inevitably followed by a few seconds of uncomfortable laughter on the part of the viewer, which really only adds to the fun. #Screamers isn’t exactly The Exorcist, but it will get you a few times, guaranteed.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Dean Matthew Ronalds
- Producer(s): Tom Malloy
- Screenwriter(s): Tom MalloyDean Matthew Ronalds
- Cast: Tom Malloy (Tom Brennan)Chris Bannow (Chris Grabow)Griffin Matthews (Griffin) Abbi Snee (Abbi)Emanuela Galliussi (Emma)Theodora Miranne (Tara Rogers)
- Editor(s): Aaron Gordon
- Cinematographer: Mark I. Davis
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer: Katrina Elliott
- Casting Director(s): Judy Henderson
- Music Score: Jeffrey Alan Jones
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA