It’s common these days to see movies that utilize the Zoom meeting trope, to varying degrees of success. LIVESCREAMERS takes the found footage/Zoom meeting movie to the next level. Filmed as a Twitch stream and using the Unreal Engine to create the in-movie game, this horror sequel (which you rarely see in the indie world) directed by Michelle Iannantuono is fun, innovative from a filmmaking perspective, and scary. What’s not to like?

Capturing the essence of Twitch streamer culture, LIVESCREAMERS features a collective of content creators known as Janus Gaming and we watch them play a new, unreleased horror game called House of Souls. As an extra added bonus, the players have a fan playing in-house with them that won a contest to be there by donating the most money during a charity stream the group had played.

LIVESCREAMERS captures streamer culture pretty well, something the director has a lot of experience with as a streamer and content creator herself. The actor’s characters fall into somewhat stereotypical slots, but it works for what the film is trying to do. The acting for this is pretty good considering it doesn’t actually have to be. It feels like you’re watching a genuine live stream, full of real people, going through genuine experiences. The addition of including real-world elements like the ongoing pandemic and the isolation that many experienced during the height of it adds to the authenticity of the characters, while also running the risk of dating the movie in the future. One thing that never goes out of style, however, is having the characters deal with real-world topics that streamers face all the time. Misogyny, racism, toxic fan culture, abuse, cover-ups and secrets; all of these are unfortunately commonplace in gamer culture. The director definitely knows one thing for sure, make the characters relatable, and their deaths will hit harder later. It gets a bit heavy-handed occasionally, but I think that’s because we as a culture don’t confront these topics enough for them to not feel that way. Kudos to Iannantuono for using her platform to highlight these issues.

The film doesn’t truly start to take off until around the 20-minute mark, but once it does it keeps the pacing quick and the blood flowing. The streamers quickly realize that House of Souls isn’t just a game. Bonus points to the filmmaker for organically referencing the events of the first film shortly after the first death, tying the two films together. There are a few elements that could be improved, the death scenes, while incredibly creative, could be executed with a bit more realism.

This movie should appeal to a lot of people. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser at festivals (I originally got to watch this at Panic Fest in Kansas City), and folks seemed to really connect with it. Gamers are an obvious target audience for LIVESCREAMERS, and fans of the first movie should find this to be a good sequel experience.

Reviewed as part of the 2024 Salem Horror Fest
Livescreamers | September 2, 2023 (United States) Summary: In this sequel to 2020's LIVESCREAM, a popular group of content creators face the ultimate lesson in teamwork when a haunted video game begins killing them one by one.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

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