Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Death of a Vlogger Review: An Indie Found Footage Film Dials Up The Scares

Release date: September 15, 2020
Running time: 88 minutes
Starring:  Graham Hughes, Annabel Logan, Paddy Kondracki

An ambitious vlogger experiences the dark side of the internet when his latest video, which features an alleged haunting, goes viral.  Graham (Hughes) has been trying to go viral for years, and when strange occurrences start happening during his vlogs, he finally gets the fame that he is hoping for.  The haunting not only affects him, but also his friend Erin (Logan) and his new collaborator Steve (Kondracki).  However, this is a double edged sword when he realizes that it is not all perfect when both the haunting and the internet fans take a more sinister turn.

Death of a Vlogger is a social media found footage based haunting film, from a well done documentary style perspective.  Although we have had a few of these types of films recently (the amazing Host, the promising Followed, and the newly sinister No Escape), this film takes a different perspective to showcase it as a retrospective documentary that is analyzing what occurred with Graham.  You get some after the fact insights, clips from the haunting itself, and interviews with the people involved.  It is an interesting way to approach it and although they could give away a lot of the story, they choose not to with carefully worded answers that introduce enough ambiguity to keep you guessing about what will happen next.  I did enjoy the documentary aspect as it gives you a sense of dread and unease, thinking that something bad will happen without explicitly saying it.  And this is also born out in the footage itself, which has a similarly sinister character to it.  There are enough strange occurrences and haunted aspects that it keeps you guessing what will happen next.  And you are constantly looking to see where the next thing will come from.  And these paranormal occurrences do have a variety of happenings, with several jump scares along the way.

Death of a Vlogger is a decidedly indie film, with what appears to be a small budget.  However, the film was very smart in how it used that budget, with good production and a decided lack of CG.  The film focuses on smart effects, found footage, and some interesting costumes for the scares and not on expensive and unnatural looking effects.  It does a good job dialing up the creepy with this, although it would have been nice to have a few more characters.  And there are some scares that don't look as sinister as they could, like someone dressed in a costume rather than an actual spirit.  But it makes up for this by having the jump scares genuinely be scary.  And some interesting camera tricks that will have you guessing at times.  The characters and the story have enough surprises that it will keep your interest and the overall ending is ambiguous enough that it can have multiple interpretations.  

Death of a Vlogger is a suspenseful found footage documentary with smart effects, interesting characters, and plenty of unease and jump scares.

Rent it.

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