Sunday, 1 March 2020

Death Of A Vlogger (2020)

ImageDirector: Graham Hughes
Runtime: 88 Minutes
Rating: 18
Starring: Graham Hughes, Annabel Logan, Paddy Kondracki, Joma West, Stephen Beavis, Patrick O'Brien, Josie Rogers

When it comes to modern living, has there been more of a double-edged sword than the internet? For every site which offers a method of uniquely expressing ourselves, or communication with friends across the world, there's lies an outlet to generate hateful views, and a veil under which to say the most vile of things. Such resonant issues are captured in this brainchild of Graham Hughes, the film's writer, director, producer, editor, and star. Don't be surprised if he also provided tea and biscuits on set.

Presented in the form of a documentary, an assortment of talking heads and well rendered visuals detail the story of Graham (Graham Hughes), an ambitious vlogger who becomes a viral sensation, after one of his videos indicates he's being haunted. By delving into this dark supernatural force, while dealing with the effects of finding fame on the internet, he finds himself going down a nightmarish rabbit hole.

From early on, Graham is depicted as somebody chasing after viral fame. His early videos are described as doing whatever would "make people laugh, advance his career, or persona", and we can see that joyfulness and passion across his face. As his video gains traction, what occurs is an unfortunate case of "be careful what you wish for". Whether he's caught up in the eye of a social media storm, or in the midst of a supernatural haunting, you can see how lost the character is. He's left in the midst of something outside of his understanding, and Hughes does wonderfully in portraying this. 

Telling Graham's story are an assortment of figures, brought to life by a great supporting cast. Helping our lead is Erin, the supportive partner who's brought alive by Annabel Logan's very human performance. She also contends with Steve, a paranormal vlogger with an ego who Graham seeks help from, entertainingly played by Paddy Kondracki. Crossing their paths is Alice, a noted paranormal skeptic who questions Graham's videos, and Joma West gives a memorable turn in the role.

Central to it all is the spectre of social media fame, which haunts our lead throughout the 88 minute running time, in very visual ways. These horrific encounters slowly build, opting away from the most unearned of jump scares, for moments which rise in terror with each passing moment. Modern technologies are integrated well into proceedings, as Street View is utilised to chilling effect, and a 360° VR scene adds bouts of inventiveness to the picture. A special mention is deserved for one nerve-shredding scene, which brings to mind the fabled P.T. demo, and leave you on edge as to what'll happen.

Through this visual haunting, Hughes captures the prevalent horror which is tethered to social media, and putting yourself online, in the hopes of gaining virtual fame. With this, the film addresses the effects of cyber-bullying, and the toll online harassment can have, a topic which sadly becomes more relevant with each passing day. What we're left with is a timely ghost story ready to leave you unsettled, and then with food for thought.

No comments: