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  • Rev Horror

Spooky Crew

Dir. Erin Broussard (2023)

The Spooky Crew, a podcast that investigates urban legends, take on a local story in an attempt to prove its validity.

Advances in technology have eliminated a lot of the barriers to entry for independent filmmakers, allowing smaller budget and less-equipped indie directors to make movies that look just as good, if not sometimes better, than the A-list films that Hollywood puts together. By making a short film with excellent technology, indie filmmakers can put together a brief story with excellent production values that hold serve with anything else on the market. Erin Broussard's new short film Spooky Crew does exactly that, delivering A-plus visuals with excellent acting, minimal but impressive effects, and an interesting aesthetic that helps it to stand out from some of the other shorts I've seen recently.

The Spooky Crew, a podcasting team made up of Tim (Jeff Pearson), Nancy (Olivia Peck), and Emery (Jerik Thibodeaux), seeks to investigate urban legends through their popular streaming show. They're trying to explore a local story about Mary Jane (Wicken Taylor), who allegedly haunts an abandoned building nearby. The group attempts to perform a ritual to resurrect her, and, naturally, they get exactly what they're asking for. Their subscribers watch the live video stream as the trio fuck around and subsequently find out.

I've seen a few of these movies that showcase livestreaming and its potential consequences. Of course, there's Deadstream, a mass-released film that was received well and did a great job of blending horror with slapstick-ish comedy. I was also a big fan of Into The Black Abyss: Deathstream, a low-budget indie horror that I haven't seen anyone talking about, which is a damn shame. This short, admittedly less fleshed-out than those previous two films, takes the same tactic of supplying live commentary on the sides of the screen while the subjects go through their ordeals. This provides small tidbits of comedy, usually, and occasionally interesting hints to the viewer as to what they should be seeing in the darker corners of the screen. It's a really intriguing form of meta-horror, super effective in the age of YouTube and Twitch streamers where these experiences could be readily available if only one knew where to look.

While Spooky Crew pokes fun at these forms of technohorror, it actually does so while remaining a super effective short that accomplishes exactly what it wants to in such a short runtime (around 11 minutes). I've always talked about how successful shorts sometimes leave the audience wanting more, and how the best ones could be idealized as a feature-length story given the opportunity. Because of the presence of other, well-done films that take this same avenue, Spooky Crew doesn't feel like that. In fact, were it stretched to feature length, it would likely hold even more similarities with the two films I mentioned before, and thus would lose a lot of its appeal and perhaps even its need to exist. Thankfully, none of those questions need to be examined, because the film stuck with its short runtime and got the absolute most out of it. In the end, what we get is an excellent, compelling, and even impressive example of what a good filmmaker with some access to decent equipment can do in such a tiny showcase of their talent.

Who this short is for: Short horror fans, Video podcast lovers, Twitch subscribers

Bottom line: Excellently shot, well-acted, and a showcase of effective filmmaking in a tight timeframe, Spooky Crew is a short that does exactly what it sets out to do almost perfectly well. There's very little not to love here, and I'm excited to see what comes next for the writer/director team of Erin and Donny Broussard. They're both immensely talented, and I have a feeling that we'll be seeing more from the duo in the future.

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