This is a movie that broke my heart. #Screamers starts off great, I was completely sucked in and totally engulfed in the mystery they were setting up. Then it dips into “just okay” territory. Then you realize how it is going to end and you can’t help but long for the time (a mere 80 minutes ago) when this film was so good.
This is a faux documentary film. Which means that we get plenty of breaking the fourth wall, shaky cam and all of the other things that go with this style of filmmaking. The “documentary” is following a tech start up that is trying to take on YouTube as a video website. They receive a video that becomes a huge online sensation and want to cash in on it but they are having a hard time finding the person who submitted it because it was done so anonymously. Once they do make contact with the video’s creator things just get stranger and the decision is made to go see them in person.
All of this setup was well done and I couldn’t wait to find out what was happening. What is going on with these people? Why are they acting so weird and being so secretive? Well, in the last act you slowly start to realize that you’re not going to get the answers that you seek. Once that happens, I was totally out on this one. It sets up an incredible mystery and never bothers to pay it off.
Hats off to director Dean Matthew Ronalds and Cinematographer Mark I. Davis. They made a handheld, shaky cam movie that was easy to watch. The majority of the time when I see this sort of film I have a hard time telling what is happening on the screen. That was never an issue with #Screamers. I always knew where the characters were in relation to one another and I could see what they were seeing.
The small cast deserves recognition as well. Everyone of these characters will remind you of someone you know and the group chemistry between them is great. They really do feel like a group of people who are a bit more than just co-workers but a bit less than friends.
Technically the film looks good. The idea is as solid as they come for a low budget horror movie. The actors are great. The story is just incomplete. In the end, I couldn’t get passed that one sticking point.