Live Stream Meets “Evil Dead”

The found footage haunted house movie is becoming all too common. These films must have an edge to stand out from the rest, while meeting the expectations of horror audiences. Deadstream is the type of campy horror mob that is sure to be a cult favorite.

‘Deadstream’ takes live streaming to a haunted house

Joseph Winter as Shawn Ruddy | Jared Cook / SXSW

Shawn Ruddy (Joseph Winter) is an internet personality who is always on the hunt for the next big stunt to stream live. However, a public controversy makes him lose everything. Now he wants to win back his followers and patronages by tackling his greatest fear: the paranormal.

Deadstream finds the live streamer preparing to spend a night alone in an abandoned haunted house. However, Shawn accidentally angers a vengeful spirit, which turns his night of fun into a fight for survival. He’s way in over his head, as he begins to rely on his followers to help him endure the night.

Writers/Directors Joseph and Vanessa Winter Serve Up ‘Evil Dead’ Vibes

Shawn is the stereotypical kind of obnoxious live-streaming personality one would expect. He is conceited, narcissistic, and believes society’s rules don’t apply to him. However, these online influencers certainly exist and have large followings. Shawn is often a little cringeworthy, but he writes appropriately and it allows him to make the mistakes that make it plausible why he can’t just leave the house.

Deadstream finds the protagonist arriving at the abandoned building called “Death Manor”. He intentionally does not give himself an easy way out, removing his own access to the car and locking himself inside the building. Winters instills consistent comedic punches in found footage and haunted house movies, including the typical tacky opening title card and the way he places cameras around the location to capture paranormal activity.

Death Manor brings quite a story with it. Each room has a story with its own horror stories, some scarier than others. However, they each offer a different flavor of the paranormal as Shawn moves through the house. Deadstream elevates it to the next level with “dumb” games that Shawn brings to stir minds further, creating a truly wild and thrilling horror experience that’s not afraid to be silly.

‘Deadstream’ is big fun for cult crowds

Winters fully delves into his found footage aesthetic and has discovered a way to make believable why the character doesn’t just turn off the camera when things go sour. Deadstream plays by its own rules, even using Shawn’s music for the live stream as the score for the film. Winters embrace physical effects, though the low budget certainly shows up with makeup and prosthetics that leave something to be desired.

The entities of Deadstream meet more like Sam Raimi’s Deadites diabolical death mixed with a bit of the tone of Ghost Dating, rather than the typical ghost. However, it allows for a much greater amount of physicality, which the film relies on. Deadstream takes place almost entirely within the confines of the haunted house and the space just outside. As a result, this uses every square foot of that space to unleash its horror and comedy.

The Winters’ horror film forces its audience to put up with a protagonist who gets a bit shrill. However, those willing to go with this self-aware horror flick will have a blast doing it. There are some good scares, lots of laughs, and a few gross moments. Deadstream is the definition of a major cult audience.

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