SXSW 2022: ‘Deadstream’ is Hilarious and Gross

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Deadstream - But Why Tho

It’s no secret that content creators, especially streamers end up being awful a lot of the time. Whether it’s their content itself or who the people are, it can all be just way too cringey and in other situations dangerous. Deadstream captures that “awful streamer” perfectly.  Directed and written by Joseph and Vanessa WinterDeadstream follows a disgraced and demonetized internet personality, Shawn (Joseph Winter), as he tries to win back his fans by live-streaming himself spending one night alone in an abandoned haunted house.

Using his fears as a way to get fans, Shawn has pushed himself to do things he’s afraid of, which apparently include being “smuggled across the border” and fighting a homeless man. After people rightfully revoke their support of his content, Shawn decides to take on ghosts which is apparently his biggest fear. But when he accidentally unleashes a vengeful spirit, his big comeback event becomes a real-time fight for his life as he faces off with the sinister spirit of the house and her own powerful following.

Deadstream is great. Not only do the filmmakers understand how streamers engage with audiences, the tools they use, and how to capture the need for virility they chase after, they also understand practical effects work in a way that would make horror greats proud. With a straightforward premise and concept, Deadstream give in completely to the obsession with internet fame and it works.

Shawn is unlikeable right off the bat, but not in such an eccentrically annoying and terrible way as last year’s DashcamShawn feels real in his self-centered inability to really get why he sucks, more Logan Paul than anything, this unlikeability is what makes the horror and violence that Deadstream puts him through thoroughly enjoyable. And to be honest, the b-level horror gags paired with well-timed jump scares and stellar and grotesque ghost designs are what make Deadstream so damn great. 

It’s clear that Winter duo have a love for films like Evil Dead, when it comes to messing with things and bringing evil barrelling towards you and the grossness that can come out of practical effects. And so much of Deadstream is just scary gross in a way that made me wiggle in my seat but also appreciate the time spent crafting the effects work in the film.

Additionally, the balance of horror and comedy is also perfect. Joseph and Vanessa Winter understand how to use found footage framing and the blind spots in the camera to make you jump while also understanding exactly how live streaming works and the tools at streamers’ disposal. This understanding allows the duo to ramp up the comedy and ultimately use the framing devices of a livestream to accentuate situations in just the right way. 

With Shudder acquiring Deadsteam, I hope audiences don’t have to wait long to watch this horror-comedy. It’s gory, hilarious, and Shawn is just the right kind of unlikable that gets you actively rooting against him while also kinda hoping he makes it through.

Deadstream had its World Premiere at SXSW 2022 International Film Festival and has been acquired by Shudder for distribution.


Deadstream
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

With Shudder acquiring Deadsteam, I hope audiences don’t have to wait long to watch this horror-comedy. It’s gory, hilarious, and Shawn is just the right kind of unlikable that gets you actively rooting against him while also kinda hoping he makes it through.