Videogames get all too real in Michelle Iannantuono’s new-aged found-footage flick, Livescream. A brilliant cross between feature film and a genuine “let’s play” video session, Livescream does not feel like any movie I’ve seen before. Premiering in 2018 at the Crimson Screen Film Festival, Livescream took home 3 well-deserved awards at its debut and has won many more awards for its style, direction, and a standout acting performance.
Scott (Gunner Willis) opens a live stream for another night of gaming on his indie video channel. Along with his moderator, username JumpingWolf, the pair entertain over 200 of his followers nightly. One night Scott begins a game suggested by an anonymous follower; it starts out weird and gets worse from there. Scott is forced to play the game or die, and if he fails or quits, his hundreds of viewers die too. Each level demands a sacrifice, and as Scott loses people he becomes tormented by his failure. At the mercy of an anonymous evil gamemaster, Scott must face himself and many tests in order to beat the game and win his life.
This film made me have so many questions! It sure seems as if it was shot in one take as the film is quite literally a live stream of a video gaming session. The movie is lead by Gunner Willis as Scott, who was entertaining, heartfelt, and relatable as the lone gamer seemingly picked at random to suffer. Somehow, watching Gunner did not feel like I was watching someone acting, and because of his performance, the movie felt all too real. Also, though this movie seems to be for gamers, even I caught a few references crammed into this compact one-hour film. Scott descends through 9 levels of an evil game like descending through his own layers of hell, trapped in webcam view throughout the film. The atmosphere felt a little like 2010’s Buried, with the audience primarily only viewing Scott.
My only gripes are that it didn’t end without credits, it would have been more horrific if the film had just cut off after the last stab had landed in the audience’s gut. It would have followed through on the realness this movie was perpetuating, though it is understood that this isn’t just some snuff film for gamers. Also, part of the innovation of this movie is that it portrays a chatroom, so the audience must read the chatting in order to understand Scott’s responses to his followers/chatters. I don’t mind subtitles at all, but the syncing of the chat and Scott’s responses seemed off at a handful of points, but otherwise, this feature of the film was interesting to watch.
There were a lot of fun references, and this movie might bear rewatching to catch more of them. Livescream felt similar to watching Markiplier spouting off commentary and “nope”-ing at the sign of danger, especially when Scott has to deal with a Five Nights At Freddy’s type level. Yipes! Livescream is also surprisingly heartfelt, perhaps since there is little gore in the film it plays more as sinister than scary. If you love video gaming, killer clowns, and internet trolls, Michelle Iannantuono’s Livescream may be for you. To catch the film, rent or purchase the film via your video-on-demand service when Livescream begins streaming in January 2020.
7 out of 10 ☠️