Technology may change but evil is still evil. In H.P. Lovecraft’s “Pickman’s Model” two men try to track down a missing painter of all manner of demonic creatures only to find out a terrible secret. “But by God, Eliot, it was a photograph from life”. In #SCREAMERS the staff of a video website tries to track down the source of some bizarre videos, and similarly wish they hadn’t.
Gigaler.com is a web startup devoted to videos. Armed with a revolutionary new algorithm and tracking technology they plan to become everyone’s homepage. When they receive a jump scare type video that almost immediately goes viral the company’s execs Tom (Tom Malloy) and Chris (Chris Bannow) want to lock its creators into an exclusive deal. That’s when things start getting weird. The girl in the video, who they talked to on the phone has been missing for years. And the town and cemetery it was shot in? It’s the final resting place of Dr. Francis J. Tumuelty, believed by many to have been Jack the Ripper. And she keeps talking about a guy named Francis. So taking Griffin (Griffin Matthews) and Abbi (Abbi Snee) along they decide to go investigate. Bad idea.
#SCREAMERS takes its name from those annoying videos that end with a scary face popping up and screaming at you. They haven’t been a thing for years but we’re expected to believe that this one suddenly goes viral on a massive scale. That’s one of three major problems the film has. One other is it takes forever to get going. It’s nearly two thirds over before it even gets out of Gigaler’s offices. The third is the level of stupidity needed on the part of all involved for the film to play out as it does.
The basic idea behind #SCREAMERS is a good one, but the execution is a total train wreck. Director and co-writer Dean Matthew Ronalds has proven he can deliver a solid feature with NETHERBEAST INCORPORATED. Co-writer Tom Malloy is primarily an actor but has writing credits on the likes of THE ATTIC and THE ALPHABET KILLER, (also set in the Rochester NY area). This could have easily been a solid thriller. Instead its a whole lot of build-up leading to an ending that shows nothing and explains even less.
#SCREAMERS plays select U.S. cities on April 5th and 6th, and debuts on VOD April 17th through Dread Central Presents, the genre label from Epic Pictures.