So, we have a horror film following a streamer, which means they didn’t want a likable protagonist, haha.
Joking aside, Shawn, who is going to stay in a haunted house to win back viewers, is likable enough. Streaming is an odd social phenomenon as we are watching friends rather than having them. I’m not anti-streaming, nor do I think there are problems with the trend (though there are likely going to be issues). However, it is interesting and I for one am happy to see horror branching into these new forms of social interaction.
I think one issue with this film (or any streaming based horror film) is whether or not Shawn is likable enough to be a believable streamer. I’d say yes, but I also find a lot of the most famous streamers objectively unlikable, so what do I know?
You might be wondering why I am rambling about streaming so much, but I think it is relevant. If you don’t connect with a streamer you turn the channel off. This is a high risk set-up for a film. We’re also mixing found-footage into our stew here, so the film has potentially two things going against it right when it begins.
Shawn seems like a likable goofball who is also scared of everything. His channel focuses on him facing his fears (and seems to be usually painful) and people like watching folks be hurt. Shawn fell out of the good graces of the internet crowd and is now working to get his audience back. I chuckled at him literally breaking into a supposedly haunted home instead of having anything planned.
The haunting activity begins almost immediately and Shawn provides us with perhaps the most realistic reaction to terror. He simply freaks out and hides in the closet. His viewers spur him to keep exploring, and the situation rapidly declines. Shawn’s banter and reactions make the film.
In short, this movie is funny.
The story is perhaps a bit of a mess but I think this is intentional. Shawn doesn’t seem to have the attention span to fully explore what is happening around him and jumps from conclusion to conclusion without thinking anything through. Just about everything he does seems to make the situation worse, which is great.
This is how horror and comedy can blend. We have a functioning haunted house with a funny protagonist. Instead of making everything funny, we instead get the humor with the scares in the background. Granted, the movie isn’t scary (but it sure is a lot of fun). This is another slam dunk from Shudder, which seems to be gaining ground in the exclusives department.
Worth a watch!