The Movie Waffler SXSW 2022 Review - DEADSTREAM | The Movie Waffler

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SXSW 2022 Review - DEADSTREAM

deadstream review
A struggling influencer livestreams a night in a haunted house.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Joseph Winter, Vanessa Winter

Starring: Joseph Winter, Melanie Stone


With Evil Dead, and more overtly Evil Dead II, Sam Raimi gave us largely a one man horror show, with that man played by Bruce Campbell. Raimi cleverly combined Campbell's physical comedy chops with innovative practical VFX and groundbreaking camera work. Now, imagine those movies with a less comically talented actor in the role and rather than the stunning camerawork of Raimi's films, the shakey-cam style of found footage.

That's essentially what you get with the patience-testing Deadstream. The film, which as its title implies, plays out as an internet livestream, is centred on Sean Ruddy (Joseph Winter, who co-directed with Vanessa Winter), a livestreamer known for controversial and attention-seeking pranks. A recent stunt saw him kicked off YouTube and so now he's trying to rebuild his following on Livid, a fictional Twitch alternative.


Ruddy comes up with the not so original idea of spending a night in a supposedly haunted house and live-streaming the events. He even records his own synth score to accompany his misadventures. Choosing a remote and dilapidated old house rumoured to be haunted by the spirits of several people who died there in suspicious circumstances, Sean sets up various cameras to try and capture some paranormal activity. Of course, he gets more than he bargained for.

deadstream review

Deadstream shares the same issue that dogs many found footage movies. That is, by presenting things almost exclusively from the POV of the movie's protagonist, the audience is left to rely on said protagonist explaining the plot. And there's a lot of exposition here, with not only Sean filling us in, but his followers recording videos to explain the supernatural relevance of various props he comes across, along with the history of the house.


It feels like an age before things start to go bump in this particular night, as we're left alone for a good half hour with Sean, one of the most insufferable lead characters I've ever had the misfortune to spend time with. In the final act the Raimi influence comes to the fore with lots of old school rubbery monsters and demons making their presence known. The trouble is we never get a proper look at the action due to the shakey found footage format, making the efforts of the make-up and creature design department a tad redundant.

With its tired critique of the insecurities of internet "celebs" and found footage aesthetic, Deadstream might have seemed innovative a decade ago, but in 2022 it's as stale as the various rotting corpses its leading man stumbles over.

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