March 27, 2018 #Screamers (Movie Review)
The internet is a treasure trove of information and entertainment. Everything a person could ever want to see is just a few keystrokes away. Is there ever a thought given as to who is posting online? It could be anyone or anything. Sometimes curiosity can lead to some uncomfortable discoveries. Trick Candle Productions presents the Dean Matthew Ronalds (Meet the Browns 2009, Fourplay 2018) directed #Screamers, which will be available in US theaters on Tuesday, April 8, 2018 thanks to Epic Pictures.
Tom (Tom Malloy: The Alphabet Killer 2008, Hero of the Underworld 2016) and Chris (Chris Bannow: Not Fade Away 2012, Three Christs 2017) are the masterminds behind Gigglar, a rising internet media company. They have Griffin (Griffin Matthews: Cashmere Mafia 2008, Weeds series), one of their main media employees begin filming a documentary following the success of the new business.
During the filming, Griffin receives a video from an unknown user. The video is a successful screamer or jump scare. The guys in the office are thrilled by it and immediately put it on their homepage. It quickly generates more views than the company has ever had before. Tom and Chris decide they want to try to find the person responsible for the video. They enlist Abbi (Abbi Snee: Person of Interest series, Gotham series), the company’s tech guru to find the anonymous user.
Tom calls Tara (Theodora Miranne: The Blacklist: Redemption series, Person of Interest series), the woman who is in the video. He is expecting her to be excited and cooperative. She is anything but. Tara refuses to cooperate or say much. The mystery of the video continues to get deeper. Tom becomes obsessed with trying to figure out what is going on. The group decides to take a trip and confront Tara about the videos and find out the truth and film the encounter for the website.
Out in the middle of nowhere, the group finds clues to the mystery behind the videos. More questions arise. Tara might not be the person she claims to be. The origin of the video just might be darker than the group originally thought. It is just an online video. Why is there so much mystery surrounding it? How could an internet video be something potentially dangerous? What or who has Tara conspired with? For what purpose? Will the staff of Gigglar get some incredible footage to generate even more hits? Will Tom and Chris be around to see their creation continue to grow?
Overall, the very idea of #Screamers is new and exciting. How many people watch videos online without even questioning anything about where or who the source originated from? Surely not everyone who posts online are doing so with pure purposes. It explores this in a way that makes the viewer pause before clicking on another online video. The fact that a real reason for the video is never revealed leaves this film open to a sequel. Even if none are made, it is perfectly capable of being a stand alone.
Like most Mystery/Horror films, #Screamers has a few twists and turns. Most of them make complete sense and only adds to the entertainment value of the film. The main twist, though, feels like a throw away. It did not fit in with the pace or action of the film. It is also not fully fleshed out and explained. Fortunately, this is the only major issue with #Screamers. Just one part of the video mystery does not hurt the momentum of the film. It just does not belong. It is more a disappointing aspect than anything. It feels lazy almost as though the writer felt that it was needed when in reality it was not necessary at all.
The four main characters in this film are like magic on the screen together. They play off each other with such ease as though the characters on film were real and no script was involved. It helps that the characters are fleshed out and interesting. Tom is a dreamer and has a temper when things do not go his way. He is clearly a leader who does not always think of the other people around them.
On the other hand, Chris seems to try and think things through. There is tension between the partners which adds to the depth of the film. Abbi is the cute, super-smart girl that nothing can really happen without. Griffin is the charming comic relief that anyone would love to go hang out and grab a beer with. The characters’ interest in the screamer video keeps the audience entranced. If they had not been so well thought out and portrayed, the film would be basic and forgettable.
Often, documentary-style films are slow to the point and muddled with a lot of filler. #Screamers does not fall into this trap. The pacing of the action is fluid and easily followed. The characters are multidimensional and interesting. If there is only one negative with this film, it is the surprise twist that does not even really affect the outcome. That withheld, CrypticRock gives #Screamers 4 out of 5 stars.