Written and Directed by Vanessa Winter and Joseph Winter.
Starring Joseph Winter and Melanie Stone
“I’m Shawn Ruddy and I’m a piece of trash” is the first thing I heard in this movie and I was instantly hooked. Deadstream is a hilarious sendup of twitch and YouTube livestream nonsense while also having some legitimately tense and terrifying scenes. It’s both everything and nothing you’re expecting at the same time.
Joseph Winter is incredibly funny as disgraced livestreamer Shawn Ruddy who is desperate to put his career back together after a series of scandals. Nothing about him seems genuine, everything is about having as large an audience as humanly possible. This pursuit of fame and living as a celebrity has also robbed him of any self awareness. At one point he apologizes (“For real this time”) for a prank involving being smuggled over the border, recognizes that he hasn’t been a good person to minorities and dedicates his video “To the Mexicans and the Blacks”. The best part of it is that as completely over the top as he is, the character is actually believable. What that says about where we are societally is for people much smarter than me to dissect.
Early on in the quest to regain his fame he meets Chrissy, a superfan who just wants to be on video with him. He tries to send her away, wanting all of the audience to himself but his chat overrides him and she gets to stay for a while. Oh. The chat. I loved this part in the movie too. I’ve watched my fair share of twitch streams and loved the accuracy of the audience turning on him and coming back to borderline worship him constantly. Messages like “I love you Shawn” and “lol ur gonna die” scroll past in rapid succession as he’s exploring the house. He gets a few videos from fans as well, my favourite one being from a kid who claims “I think you’re a good person. People are just sensitive these days” after Shawn belittles him for “being 12”.
When the ghosts show up the movie gets really fun. There are some great Evil Dead references and the makeup work on the undead is absolutely top notch. For a movie as over the top slapstick as it is, there are also a few scenes that will make you jump. I’d really like to see Vanessa and Joseph Winter try their hands at a serious horror movie after this because I can guarantee what they make will be one of the most legitimately terrifying movies of the year.
Deadstream is fun, it’s silly, it’s stupid and it’s perfect. I enjoyed this one and highly recommend it.