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Deadstream Review | SXSW2022

The horror/social media crossovers in recent years haven’t been up to par. The most acclaimed horror film in recent years must be Rob Savage’s Host, which surprised many of us with its practical effects and genuine scares. Many other directors have tried to replicate what he did in the 2020 pandemic-adjacent horror flick to no avail. Even Savage wanted to outdo himself with a feature of a similar degree with DASHCAM, but it ended up being the most insufferable movie that screened at TIFF that year. Nevertheless, there is still potential to be found in these types of pictures.

That’s where Joseph and Vanessa Winter’s Deadstream comes in. Although it doesn’t break new ground nor does it outdo Host, it does manage to get your attention and entertain. The film follows a washed-up influencer who’s trying to win back his followers after a series of controversies have left him without means of earning money. So, how is he going to win back the fans? By spending a night alone in an abandoned haunted house. A few years back, this was a massive thing with YouTube streamers–going to abandoned houses and acting as if there was something suspicious– exaggerating the spooks for the viewers.

Deadstream is most effective when it goes bonkers with the lore of the haunted house and ghostly spirits, which brings an Evil Dead-type of vibe to the movie. In addition, the practical effects have a B-movie look to them, which I, myself, liked as a fan of sleazy-on-purpose horror films. However, the streaming gag can go on for a way too long. It’s not that the main lead, played by director Joseph Winter, is annoying or anything. It just takes too long to get to the good stuff. The film would have benefited from being shorter by 10-15 minutes.


By Hector Gonzalez

Hector Gonzalez is a Puerto Rican chemical engineering student and film critic with a great passion for cinema, award shows, 1960s music, and the horror genre. Some of his favorite films are RAW, Eyes Without a Face, and The Green Ray.

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