What Happens Next Will Scare You
Dir. Chris LaMartina (2020)
A team of journalists writing for an online clickbait site are trying to avoid losing their jobs by coming up with a great Halloween list. When one of the videos they watch is cursed, the station comes under attack from all sorts of viral video vermin.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I've made it absolutely no secret that I'm a huge fan of Chris LaMartina, who you may know from WNUF Halloween Special or Call Girl of Cthulu. I was lucky enough to catch the Southeastern premier of WNUF 2 (or Out There Halloween Megatape, as it's officially called) at the 2022 Terror Vision Film Festival and got to congregate a little with LaMartina and his wife Melissa, who also stars in a lot of his stuff (including this one!) They're wonderful people, but that alone is not enough to make them worthy of fans and adoration. Thankfully, they're also really damn talented, as evidenced once again in What Happens Next Will Scare You.
Aiming as much for scares as for laughs, WHNWSY is about a group of journalists who are desperately trying to avoid unemployment by creating a clickbait list to garner some views during spooky season. They're looking for the scariest viral videos on the web that they can share with their readers, giving Buzzfeed a run for their money in the annoyance department. Unfortunately, one of the videos they find (or, we discover, make themselves) is cursed, bringing to life the characters and creatures from all of the other videos that they watch in a maelstrom of trouble for the office and the workers therein. While the movie isn't going to scare the pants off of you by any means, there are some genuinely creepy members in the cadre of misfits, like a serial killer clown and some faceless fetishists who are up to no good.
There are some genuine laughs throughout, and Melissa LaMartina gets to show off her acting chops a bit as journalist Rachel Silver. Fans of the director will pick up on some additions from his other films, including Paul Fahrenkopf (Frank Stewart) and Brian St. August and Helenmary Ball (Dr. Louis and Claire Berger) from WNUF. The effects are pretty great for a tiny indie film, with some truly gross-out makeup and even a creative party use for intestines. There's also a pretty shocking ending that I honestly didn't see coming, a nihilistic and gnarly finale that belies a lot of the chuckles that are sprinkled throughout.
LaMartina utilizes a lot of his camera tricks and editing techniques from WNUF in giving the viral videos an air of believability, looking very much like shorts that you'd find on YouTube or even pre-Google internet boards. The film smartly sticks to one location, exploring the outside world only through the lens of a computer screen and forcing the viewer into the same isolation felt by those at the office. I enjoyed the film quite a bit, though I will admit it fails to attain the heights of WNUF or its sequel. That being said, it's an enjoyable and unique indie horror comedy, the type that often tries and fails to achieve either horror or comedy, and it manages to pull of both pretty damn well. Can't complain about that one bit, and if you're as big a fan of the filmmaking duo as I am, this is one that absolutely should not be missed.
Who this movie is for: Horror comedy fans, Fans who like their horror comedy a little scarier,
Bottom line: A unique concept and a lot scarier than I had imagined it would be, What Happens Next Will Scare You lampoons clickbait advertising-journalism with some shocking scenes of mayhem and sprinkles in a few laughs along the way. Chris LaMartina is a fantastic indie director, and fans of his WNUF Halloween Special will really enjoy this one through face recognition alone. If you're looking for a movie that flew under the radar and is a great representation of what indie horror can be, look no further than this one. Definitely recommend checking it out, and there are a few left in stock at LaMartina's online storefront!