Just when you thought there was no more stories left to tell within the found footage genre, Graham Hughes delivers a little gem from out of nowhere that is one of 2020’s best horror flicks…..
Being such a huge fan of the Hell House LLC franchise and the likes of Savageland, when whispers of a new horror set in the same vein of a documentary style that was just as good started to spread around the horror community, then I was already intrigued.
While I am the first in the queue for any mainstream horror releases, its the films that go unnoticed that really gets my juices going so when Death Of A Vlogger was released this week, I was just as excited as if I was getting ready to watch the next Halloween film and having avoided any trailers or read any reviews, I pressed play and sat back and hoped that the rumours were true and that I had began to watch one of 2020’s best horror flicks.
The film is presented like a Mockumentary, set out to appease those who have been hooked on the likes of Tiger King and Making a Murderer, and while we know what we are watching isn’t real, its being released in a perfect era where viewers are getting hooked on these bizarre non stop true life tales.
Writer and Director Graham Hughes also takes the lead role of Graham, a Vlogger who has gained a little bit of a fanbase thanks to his videos and we start with him facing the camera, telling us two stories, the second in which a friend of his, a keen photographer has noticed a ghostly spectacle in each photograph he develops.
Its a spooky enough introduction that grasps you like a hook which from that moment on, the film refuses to let you go.
Graham’s rise to fame occurs when he films a video of himself blindfolded after some laser eye surgery, while a Paranormal incident happens around him. Gaining many clicks, Graham’s life soon changes for the worst and its not just the horrors that are unfolding in his flat.
What the film does brilliantly is that underneath the horror is something even more horrific and isn’t just the hauntings on show. What the film demonstrates is how the need for this new generation to get famous can also become their worst nightmare because as soon as Graham gets the fame he craves, the tide quickly turns and the internet trolls soon make his life a misery and its his descent into depression that is more scarier than the ghost haunting his hallway.
But if you are not watching this film for the Social Commentary in how cruel the Internet can be, then the ghost story itself if really effective. Yes they borrow key scares from the likes of Insidious, Ringu and Paranormal Activity 3, but Hughes brilliantly orchestrates some fantastic creepy set-pieces that really tickle the horror bone. Its like we know the scare is coming, but somehow leaps at us with a freshness not seen for a long time!
Its not all about Graham facing the camera and talking to us. We have a bunch of talking heads who shared this journey with him in the shape of his close friend Erin (Annabel Logan) a fellow paranormal vlogger Steve (Paddy Kondracki) who causes more harm than good and there is a Alice (Joma West), a journalist who sets out to prove that Graham’s videos are all a hoax.
Its the Alice subplot that puts an intriguing spin on proceedings, in which we ourselves question what is fake or not, but then that is probably the intention of Hughes because how many “true-life ” Ghost videos have we seen on YouTube and question if its real or not?
And that is the beauty of this 2020 little gem, in which its being released in the right age of Social Media madness, where image and fame is must for many and there are those who are waiting in the shadows ready to put you down.
In one particular scene, graffiti appears on the wall of Graham’s flat that reads “prepare for slaughter” and while we could label that as fake news as we don’t actually get a blood shed, what Death Of A Vlogger achieves is a startling Ghost Tale for a new generation that is equally important to the horror genre as when Heather, Mike and Josh walked into those woods….
Yes, its that good…..