You know those short horror clips that you made your friend/mum/dad/partner/child (delete as appropriate) jump at? The ones that have them concentrating on something in the distance waiting for something to happen? Only to have a person in demon/ghost/zombie makeup flash up in front of the screen screaming as loudly as possible?
Take those minute long clips, then stretch it into an excruciatingly long 82 minutes and make it found-footage. Ladies and gentlemen… you know have 2016’s #Screamers.
Directed by Dean Matthew Ronalds who wrote it with Tom Malloy, #Screamers stars Malloy himself, Chris Bannow, Griffin Matthews, Emanuela Galliussi, Theodora Miranne and Abbi Snee.
The found-footage aspect comes from the idea of making a documentary to show people the inner workings of a start-up online video platform named Gigaler. In particular, their development of an algorithm that will track visitors anonymously to better tailor the videos displayed to them on its landing page.
If you’re thinking that sounds unethical as hell, you’d be right. It’s also something the staff at Gigaler are aware of but just don’t care. Which brings us to the first thing that takes you out of this ‘documentary’. Why on earth would you be filming parts like this? It’s not a documentary crew getting warts and all access, it’s one of the staff members! Sure, you can just edit that stuff out after but why even film it?
It’s also not the only thing that is filmed that makes no sense. Staff meetings, fights between the heads of Gigaler, personal stuff and even the downright sinister plan that makes up the majority of the film’s story.
That comes about after the group have an anonymously submitted screamer video sent to them and it blows up. After getting another that seems to star the same people, they decide to track her IP information so they can contact her about getting excusive rights to her content.
She is less than forthcoming when they speak to her on the phone though and after several calls, tells them not to call again and references someone named Francis. The situation is made more difficult though when it appears as though the girl in the screamer videos resembles a missing girl. Now believing it to be an elaborate hoax, the group decide to drive to her home, confront her and film it all.
…and we’re supposed to like these people?
Of course, things go bump in the night for the group and they find out that the screamer video submissions might actually be real events.
Slow, this movie is very slow. Painfully so with a story that feels completely disconnected from the ‘real’ aspect of found footage. It’s boringly predictable and it’s got a downright terrible payoff. Imagine those short screamer videos played one after another. That’s the end of this film and man, is it obnoxious. The first might make you jump, the ones that follow have no chance. Though these are the only scares you’re going to get.
Tension and chills? Not here although it does try. The problem is A) the cast don’t act like normal people and B) it’s all stuff we’ve seen a thousand times before. It’s bland, boring and the film stumbles from one lengthy talking/arguing scene to another. This might have been ok if we had characters but we don’t. In attempt to make them human, they become uninteresting. Again, that could be bought into if the rest of the film didn’t try to take you out of its reality so damn much.
If you’ve seen any paranormal found-footage horror before, you’ve seen #Screamers. Go watch a much better one that doesn’t feel like such a waste of time.
The Final Score - 4/10