DEADSTREAM – Review – We Are Movie Geeks



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Joseph Winter as Shawn Ruddy in DEADSTREAM. Photo Credit: Shudder.

DEADSTREAM is a little comedy horror flick that looks as if it were made on the cheap (which it probably was) but which turns its limited budget into an asset. Joseph Winter wrote and directed with wife, Vanessa Winter, and stars as an internet celeb named Shawn Ruddy who’s made a living by putting himself in danger. In each episode, he faces one of his fears for fun and profit. Apparently, that kept food on the table until he went too far in one adventure and lost his sponsors in disgrace. For his comeback after a six-month exile, he chooses to live-stream his night alone in a reputedly haunted house. That makes up the entire movie.

On the plus side, Winter makes this more visually interesting than most of the hand-held camera productions flooding screens ever since THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, by using multiple cameras. He’s got a POV on his head, plus a selfie stick so we can alternate between what he sees and his reactions. He’s also planted cameras around the house’s reported hot spots (alleged previous deaths and spectral sightings) which he and we can follow on his tablet. We can also read his audience’s comments as they scroll, and even watch some of them talking to him.

As expected, spooky and gory things occur. A couple of people turn up who may, or may not, prove helpful. Winter’s character scares easily, and overreacts to the slightest sound and movement. A lot. Your enjoyment of the film will turn on whether he holds your empathy, or just becomes annoying. There’s nothing subtle or low-key in Winter’s performance. He’s wired electronically and emotionally throughout, which befits his character in the situation, but might prove as exhausting to follow as it was for him to film.

Be prepared for more blood, guts and jump starts than giggles as the protagonist’s long night of terror unfolds. It’s not rated by the MPAA as of this writing, but serves up enough frights and icky sights for an R. In his acting hat, Winters shoulders a big burden, since he’s almost always in frame, and delivers most of the lines in the spouses’ script. There are elements of humor and some social satire in the feedback from his fans’ and detractors’ reactions to what they’re witnessing in real time. The F/X part of the budget was spent wisely, providing plenty of scary and yucky bits of bang for the buck.

It ain’t great cinema but that was certainly not the goal. Enjoy this piece of escapism on its own terms. The Winters are early in their careers, and seem clever and resourceful enough to attract investors and keep their production wheels turning.

DEADSTREAM is available for streaming on Shudder starting Thursday, Oct. 6.

RATING: 2 out of 4 stars