Dir. Daniel Mark Young (2022)
A Twitch streamer is doing a livestream when he becomes the victim of a home invasion that mirrors the game that he is playing.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Holy cow. Listen, I’m as big of an indie horror supporter as anybody, as anyone who reads this site well knows. I don’t mind a lack of budget, I don’t mind some lackluster performances, as long as the intent of the film holds true to what the makers intended it to be. I’ll forgive a lot of sins in the indie world and still praise the film to high heaven. It’s not common, however, to come across a film for which there are very few, if any, sins to actually forgive, and Into the Black Abyss: Deathstream is one of them.
The film focuses around Zach (Matt Squance), a video game livestreamer with seemingly a handful of adoring fans. He has just broken up with his girlfriend Mia (Bibi Lucille), and there are allegations that he was a domestic abuser during their relationship. This mirrors several real-life Youtubers and other social media influencers who have been accused of similar acts, being attacked by some while retaining a loyal, diehard fanbase. Zach is showing a new text-based game to his followers, and he is livestreaming the new game when his home is broken into by masked intruders who seem to be a part of a cult. What follows is a harrowing, fast-paced, gory flick that is one of the more unique “found footage” type films that I’ve come across.
This one comes out a bit too late, unfortunately, because while I haven’t seen the new film Deadstream, it’s gotten a ton of buzz on social media and with all of the big horror news outlets. Had this film come out just a wee bit earlier, it really could’ve taken the world by storm, because it is fantastic. The story at times gets a bit convoluted, especially near the end, but the seeds of even the craziest twists are there from the beginning if you’re paying attention. It’s just an altogether well-told story, one with some truly excellent acting by Squance and a taut, twisty story by writer/director Daniel Mark Young. This film was made for just under $3000, which is absolutely batshit crazy. The digital effects alone in creating the livestream seem like it would cost that much, and it’s a truly brilliant way to bring in commentary on the action that is unfolding and direct the viewer’s attention to what is important.
Coming across like a social media-inspired The Strangers with a bit of a Unfriended on the back end, Into the Black Abyss: Deathstream is a fantastic addition to the techno-horror world. The gore, which isn’t super plentiful, is actually done really well in a few scenes, and barring a few moments where Squance’s Zach perhaps over-explained a bit, the writing and direction was spot-on. I’m not a huge fan of the name, and honestly believe that just calling it Into the Black Abyss would’ve been better, but I also get the need to link something to the livestream plot into the title. All in all, though, this one was absolutely fantastic and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, something that I can’t say happens very often when watching my indie horror features. Kudos to Young, who did a phenomenal job and can count me as a new fan.
Who this movie is for: Techno-horror lovers, Home invasion horror fans, Twitch gamers looking for a way out
Bottom line: Fast-paced and super fun, this one is one that should not be missed. The acting is on point, the direction is practically flawless, and the story is compelling and incredibly well-told. I cannot recommend this one enough, and I can’t wait to see other folks’ reaction. I wouldn’t be surprised a bit if this one starts picking up a lot of awards at whichever fests they’re able to get into.