Setting out with the intended goal of making a cult-classic movie is rarely a good idea. Take Benny Loves You, for example, a ham-fisted attempt to make a Child’s Play style horror-comedy. There is a lack of sincerity behind it, and the filmmakers forget they need to make an actual entertaining movie to reach the dizzying heights of Evil Dead 2.
Deadstream, too, very much sets out to become a midnight movie phenomenon. The difference is that it looks to be succeeding in doing so, at least if the reviews are anything to go by: 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, 3.46 on Letterboxd, and, most importantly, a healthy four on One Star Classics’ coveted six-star scale. This might just be a classic in the making.
It’s a simple little found-footage film, Deadstream. Shawn Ruddy is a disgraced YouTuber who once sat on top of the heap. His videos featured all kinds of dumb stunts until the day his heightening flew him too close to the sun. While the details are only mentioned, we learn a homeless man ended up in the hospital after what sounds like a
bum fight—their words, not mine—went wrong. Shawn got
canceled, and now, six months later, he tries to stage a comeback by spending the night alone in a haunted house. Little does he know that the dwelling actually is haunted.
Deadstream is a silly movie with jump scares and gross-out scenes. The undead is as playful as they are scary, and they don’t think twice about trapping Shawn and making him their plaything. If that sounds like Evil Dead, then it’s because that’s exactly what it is.
Yet, as clone-y, as it may be, Deadstream is set in 2022, and with Shawn live-streaming his antics, he is able to interact with his followers. Some think it’s all a hoax, others believe it’s real, and their comments keep rolling in. Many of these are highlighted during the movie, but it’s worth trying to read a few of the ones that quickly scroll past. They’re often amusing.
Director/co-writer/star Joseph Winter spends most of the time on screen alone and does a good job keeping the movie running at a quick pace. The eighty-seven minutes are never boring. Melanie Stone, too, puts in a solid effort as a playful spirit which once was a wannabe influencer before that was a
thing. Deadstream isn’t afraid of poking fun at the chase for fame—a low-hanging target for sure, but entertaining nonetheless.
Deadstream is a bit too derivative to become the next Evil Dead 2, but it’s a remix that is different enough to stand out amongst other wannabes. Even after a few weeks on Shudder, it has gained enough word-of-mouth attention to be considered somewhat of a niche classic in its own right. That’s likely exactly what the filmmakers set out to do.
More to come!
The team behind and in front of the camera will return for a segment in Shudder’s V/H/S/99 anthology. I’ve had mixed feelings about the V/H/S series in general, but maybe this will be a homerun. V/H/S/99 starts streaming on October 20th.
Letterboxd summary: A disgraced internet personality attempts to win back his followers by livestreaming one night alone in a haunted house. But when he accidentally pisses off a vengeful spirit, his big comeback event becomes a real-time fight for his life.
Ratings from around the web
|One Star Classics||4/6|