“Stay out of the rooms with the Dario Argento lighting,” warned one savvy horror fan as “Stream” played live on Facebook last night.
“Stream” billed itself as the first-ever live horror film, a fact disputed by one Twitter user, though it is certainly the first one of this scale. Crypt TV certainly has the right pedigree, though, and is backed by Eli Roth (“Hostel”) and Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions, two producers who seem to have the Midas touch when it comes to horror. Crypt TV debuted the fifty-minute short with a simple tweet, and it has since racked up over 800k views in less than a single day.
According to comments underneath the video, however, many of those views are from people who couldn’t look away from the shoddy acting and limp plot.
One viewer laid it out rather bluntly: “The comments are better than the acting,” with many others chiming in just to note that how funny the comments are.
“I wonder if Eli Roth is still watching this,” mused one viewer, with another adding, “Still better than all the ‘Paranormal Activity’ movies.” Others were more forgiving, calling out the haters and praising Crypt TV for trying something new, and pointing out that the negative commenters would have clicked out if the movie wasn’t grabbing them.
The title of the movie is straight and to the point, if not a bit obvious. A girl wakes up in a dark warehouse with a message carved into her arm: “Stop streaming or die.” Confused, she picks up the phone and attempts to escape, running into dead bodies and booby traps endangering her friends. She explains early on that the phone cannot make phone calls, which is why she doesn’t call the police. A menacing clown in a triple-faced mask taunts her to find her friends and catch it all on tape, asking how her movie is going. He seems intent on forcing his victim to make a film about her own demise, perhaps an experience film students can appreciate.
The pitch sounds interesting enough, and many viewers appreciated the innovative concept. The execution, unfortunately, was sloppy. Internet commenters rarely get much right, but in this case, the acting was unbelievable and amateur. Plenty of horror movies have thrilled without trained actors, but the actress’s unconvincing whimpering gives the movie a bland monotone, which makes the few moments that could have been scary fade into the background.
The production values are extremely low for a project even loosely connected to the Roth or Blum brand, and not in a cute way. (“I just saw the knife bend,” wrote one viewer). With a better script, that might be forgiven, but when the lead must reach into a cadaver for no clear reason, you may as well skip the whole thing altogether.
The live element could have been used more, with plenty of missed opportunities for audience participation (and this is certainly an audience that wanted to participate). Crypt TV has had success with their interactive Snapchat shorts, and perhaps wanted to try the live element without interaction on a longer movie. It doesn’t help that they faked it during the run of “Stream,” opting to reference comments on the live stream that don’t actually exist.
“Ain’t nobody say to open that coffin,” notes one distraught viewer. Another offered to call an Uber for the hapless victim.
Still, haters gonna hate, and the numbers tell all. (The view count is still rising). Even if the comments are the best part of “Stream,” that may not be such a terrible thing. It is a unique experience to watch a movie live on Facebook, one that communal criticism only enhances. Most viewers watched to the end, and many were eager to give Crypt TV its due for the innovative idea: “This is badass… an unexpected plus for my night.”
Watch “Stream” on Facebook right now.