Directed by: Dean Matthew Ronalds
Cast: Tom Malloy, Chris Bannow
Dean Matthew Ronalds and Tom Malloy are to be praised this Halloween (I know, I know – the holiday just passed) season. These gentlemen have come together to craft what must be considered one of the more successful found footage movies to hit the market in recent years. With Blair Witch taking up the favorite sub-genre film of the year slot for a great number of viewers, it’s important to remember that there are still some awesome indie productions out there worth pursuing. Some, like #Screamers that may very unseat a pick like Blair Witch, which, in my honest opinion, is an inferior, less-inventive picture.
I’m aching to spill the details of this film, I really am. But I can’t do it to Tom, who clearly put in a massive load of work to help assemble a serious sleeper of a movie. Director Dean Matthew Ronalds puts a little concern in the viewer as he sleepily injects random snowy scenes in the early portions of the flick, but things pick up at a surprising rate and Ronalds is clearly in control of his vehicle. It’s only moments before we’re entirely wrapped up in the pursuit of Gigaler.com (an actual website, btw, released as part of the marketing campaign behind the film, obviously) and its ambitious creative duo, Tom and Chris.
What’s Gigaler.com about?
It’s basically ebaumsworld.com with an emphasis on dark, or horror themed videos. When a screamer vid comes in and catches the gang’s attention, they push the video and score a quick viral hit. Another video from the same anonymous user comes in and the guys decide it’s time to meet with these people and discuss an exclusivity deal. They’re looking to take Gigaler to new heights, and they’re willing to operate outside of the boundaries enforced by expectation. But this may be the wrong video uploader to visit in person.
The performances from Tom Malloy and Chris Bannow are unbelievable. We’re talking, genuinely unbelievable. Think I’m exaggerating? Think I’m a shill? For the first 20 minutes of the film I thought what I was watching an actual documentary, and I expected the film to take some strange but simple stalker kind of twist. Tom and I don’t drink beer and play poker every Saturday night. This is no exaggeration and I’m no shill: Malloy and Bannow look like certified A-class talent. They may not be household names at this point, but this is highly refined and wildly convincing work.
There’re some strong supporting performers featured, and the picture is generally well-assembled. Again, it does open just a little bit slow, but in hindsight I can see that the film goes for that approach – that make you wonder if it’s actually real, approach – and damned if most documentaries don’t start on the slow side of things. For a handful of minutes, I was fooled into believing I was seeing something I wasn’t seeing. That in and of itself is mighty impressive. And for the record, the momentum of the story picks up quite quickly.
The script is also an interesting element of the film, as while it all boils down to primal scares, really, there are some wild ideas inserted into the movie that could actually open the door for a sequel, should the picture take off and things go well for Ronalds and Malloy. I’m really hoping that’s the case. There’s a question in my head that won’t seem to take a hike, and the first film simply did not answer my question, which, for the record, centers on the mysterious and infamous case of Jack the Ripper. Yeah, it’s pretty far out, to say the least.
This one comes as an enormous surprise, and it’s a welcomed enormous surprise, for sure. I enjoyed the hell out #Screamers, and I’m hoping a larger audience sees this one soon, as it’s more than worth a look, it’s perfectly chilling and strikes all the right chords, creating a near-flawless viewing experience that genre fans are going to be excited about.