#Screamers is, for all intents and purposes, a film adaptation of those viral ‘screamer’ videos that were so prevalent in the early days of the Internet. It’s a novel concept that could have made for a lot of fun, but most of the film just feels like padding.
Presented as found-footage shot for a documentary about popular new aggregator website gigaler.com, we’re introduced to a media start-up company and its employees. The film actually does a really good job of justifying the fact that someone’s filming everything and the characters are considerably less annoying and off-putting than they normally are in these sorts of films, though it should be mentioned that a particularly overbearing score often makes up for that.
What little story there is begins to unfold as an anonymous user begins uploading screamer videos to their website that become huge viral hits. Each one starts slowly before a monstrous figure jumps out and shrieks at the camera. The bosses start doing some digging into the user’s identity so that they can lock her into an exclusive deal with the website.
It starts to look as though the videos are tied to a missing person case and that the videos themselves seem to confirm that the person is still alive. Whilst this mystery makes for a good means of getting the plot from point A to B, the film seems to think that it’s far more interesting than it is because it takes up the bulk of the running time. Eventually, though, the plot begins to hint at the idea that maybe the videos are real.
Sadly, #Screamers doesn’t really kick into gear until the final 15 minutes, when it becomes exactly what you probably came to see. If the whole film was that good, it would be a highly recommendable bit of trashy fun, but in its current form, it’s more like watching a short film where you have to sit through an hour-long introduction from the director, first.
It wouldn’t be a problem if the bulk of the film was establishing character or arcs that were going to pay off significantly, but the final moments don’t offer much in the way of plot. They’re pure haunted house, thrill-ride material, so, by comparison, the first 60 minutes of the film just feel like you’re running out a clock for the sake of getting the film up to feature length.
That said, as pointless as it is, the time spent before everything hits the fan is certainly watchable. If you’re itching to see a new found footage movie and you’ve somehow made it through all the obvious choices, you could do a lot worse than #Screamers. It has a fairly unique premise when compared to the countless other movies in the “people running around, holding video cameras whilst scared” genre and the ending is solid, albeit very predictable, fun. It’s a shame that it wasn’t simply produced as a short film - had it been a sleek 25-minute segment in a horror anthology, it would likely have been a highlight of the film. If you’re willing to seek out a film purely to watch the final fifth of it, then #Screamers comes highly recommended.
#SCREAMERS / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: DEAM MATTHEW RONALDS / SCREENPLAY: TOM MALLOY, DEAN MATTHEW RONALDS / STARRING: TOM MALLOY, CHRIS BANNOW, GRIFFIN MATTHEWS, EMANUELA GALLIUSSI / RELEASE DATE: TBC