So what’s trending in horror? Hashtags. Snap streaks. Likes. Clickbait. Selfies. The horror genre’s never been one to miss out on what’s ‘trending’. Or what’s causing anxiety amongst the masses. And, in some cases, what grates on our nerves. In the 1980’s, slasher movies played on conservative fantasies of ‘punishing’ rebellious youth. Over the last several years, more recent horror movies have exploited fears about the impact of social media. Yes, the 1990’s scared us with exaggerated ideas about the Internet in movies like Brainscan. More recently, Unfriended and The Den have left us fearing Skype and chatrooms. Now the latest ‘techno-horror‘ effort, Deadcon, looks to mine a collective disdain for social media ‘influencers’.
It’s the biggest gathering of social media ‘influencers’ on the planet. And as ViewCon kicks off, the biggest personalities from YouTube and Instagram turn out to boost their brands. But as the celebrities settle into their rooms, strange events begin to unfold. Soon these YouTubers have more to worry about then ‘likes’ and subscriptions.
Deadcon a Clickbait Supernatural Thriller With No Thrills
After just a few minutes, Deadcon puts all its cards on the table. In short, Deadcon has the looks of straight-to-video thriller with the watered-down thrills of a made-for-television movie. Aside from the cheap aesthetics, Deadcon burdens itself with uninspired film-making. On the one hand, Deadcon feels like a mishmash of supernatural and haunted hotel styles and tropes. Whether it’s the occasional of use of vibrant background colours from Giallo’s or ‘creepy kids’ in hotel hallways, Deadcon doesn’t boast much in the way of originality. On the other hand, this may the only movie you’ll see where a rabbit balloon kills a character.
…Deadcon feels like an average episode of Goosebumps or the mid-80’s Twilight Zone revival.
Of course, imitation can be the sincerest form of flattery when it’s done right. Too bad Deadcon doesn’t do any of these right. Horror fans are attracted to a lot of different things. Unfortunately, Deadcon fails to deliver scares, suspense, atmosphere, or gore. In other words, horror fans won’t find anything here to enjoy. And what is put on the screen is done so with a static, monotone style. At times, Deadcon feels like an average episode of Goosebumps or the mid-80’s Twilight Zone revival. Even subject matter that should disturbs just feels ‘ho-hum’.
Unfocused Story Trolls a Potentially Interesting Concept
Though its a banal-looking movie, Deadcon’s biggest problem lies with its story. It’s a half-backed combination of a ‘ghost in the computer’ with ambitions of clever social commentary. Specifically, Deadcon clearly wants to say something about our viral social media culture of ‘influencers’ and ‘likes’. Just what exactly that message was intended to be is pretty muddled. But Deadcon’s constant use of onscreen social media posts and images of young fans adoring their YouTube celebrities is most assuredly intended to remind us that Deadcon has something important to say. Yet without any focus, the story feels like an idea that wouldn’t make it past a first table-reading for Black Mirror.
…the story feels like an idea that wouldn’t make it past a first table-reading for Black Mirror.
Given the overall mediocrity of the effort, performances weren’t likely to make or break this one. There’s no one recognizable in the cast and Deadcon isn’t likely to help. But it’s hard to fault any of the performers. They’re tasked with playing superficial, vapid social media ‘influencers’. Unless you’re 14-years of age or younger, the characters are bound to be obnoxiously unlikable. What’s really unfortunate is that Deadcon occasionally teases actual character arcs. None of these ideas are satisfactory follow through on. Like the rest of the movie, a lack of focus leaves the movie feeling like it’s rambling to its conclusion.
Press the ‘Unsubscribe’ Button on Deadcon
Though it’s utterly derivative, Deadcon is such a slag that it’s still unlikely to remind you of the better movies to which it aspires. Devoid of scares and suspense, while also lacking even some exploitative fare to score at least a few cheap thrills. Deadcon is an utterly pointless, cheap-looking movie. When it’s all over, one will wonder what the point of its social media focus was all about. It’s a concept ripe for subtext, but Deadcon does nothing with it. Do yourself a favour and click on ‘unsubscribe’ for this one.