Fantasia International Film Festival brings Deadstream, which has been a hit on the film festival circuit, to Canadian audiences. The brain-child of married couple Vanessa Winter (Devil’s Got My Back) and Joseph Winter, this writing and directing duo created a found footage horror comedy mashup. Audiences watch as a disgraced internet personality attempts to make his comeback by live-streaming while locked inside a reportedly haunted house.
While it might be more accurate to call this a screen-life film rather than found footage, Deadstream combines elements of The Blair Witch Project, Unfriended, and The Evil Dead. Our protagonist is a very typical, annoying, internet-famous streamer we’re so used to seeing in the YouTube era. The film pokes fun at these kinds of people, the lengths they go to for the likes and follows, as well as the very fake apology videos many of them put out after getting “cancelled” for some mistake. Having such an unlikable character makes the torment he experiences both hilarious and frightening.
Deadstream is definitely a good time, but the plot isn’t without its holes. For one, it’s never explained how the streamer is able to even do his livestream when he’s in a house with no wifi, no electricity, and has been abandoned for decades. The film also attempts to incorporate different mystical elements. While most of the mythos is vague enough for the casual viewer, some unexplained aspects confuse the plot.
There are many things added to the film to help bring on the scares and the laughs. Writer and director Joseph Winter also stars in the film as the internet personality, Shawn. Winter perfectly embodies the loud, in-your-face, obnoxious guy who somehow always has a huge internet following. The set is dilapidated and creepy, adding to the ominous atmosphere the moment we enter the house. When it comes to the makeup and practical effects, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the effects look terrifying in the best way, while others look more on the cheesy side. That being said, some of the ghost/creature design in Deadstream is sure to haunt audiences when they turn out the lights.
Deadstream is a goofy, scary, good time that delivers the best of found footage and comedic horror.
OVERALL RATING: 7/10