The Screenlife Films Story: 10 Key Films In An Exciting New Genre
The story of the screenlife films begins more or less with this webcam thriller that marries the turmoil inherent in a long-distance relationship with a dose of supernatural dread. The film received its “first and only online premiere” via Dread Central Horror Store in 2011, and it is now quite difficult to find that Desperate Redditors frequently wonder about personal connections.
In some ways, Collingswood is a logical extension of the images found in waveform Witch Blair and Paranormal activity, it times in less than 90 minutes and itches a certain voyeuristic itch. The film stars Stephanie Dees and Johnny Burton as Rebecca and John, a young couple who date by webcam after the first has gone to Collingswood University in New Jersey. When they meet an online psychic, they discover satanic horror in the city and, most urgently, the very house where Rebecca lives. Critical reception has been mixed.
It’s extremely hard to come by, but any screenlife completers should make an effort to track down The history of Collingswood, If only to appreciate how far webcam technology has come in two decades.
The Sick Thing That Happened To Emily When She Was Younger (2012) (Streaming on Amazon)
Joe Swanberg, best known for his low-key, serious dramas like Drinking buddies and Nights and weekends, teams up with freelance horror writer Simon Barrett for this unsettling mix of body horror, alien invasion and romantic gas lighting. Emilie deploys the naturalistic approach of Swanberg for purposes decidedly different from those usual. “People really liked it and thought it was very authentic and scary, or they thought we had completely half done it and mumbled it,” Barrett said – “that’s it was just two people talking. “
Emilie stars Helen Rogers as the main character and Daniel Kaufman as her boyfriend, James, who communicate via video chat. As Emily begins to experience paranormal phenomena and bodily disturbances (a scene where she opens her arm to investigate a strange bump is particularly heartbreaking), the plot thickens and what appeared to be a classic haunted house movie. takes on an alien twist. Barrett vividly renders the protagonist in such a way that it’s easy to see things through his eyes. When the final twist is revealed, we’re not only bowled over by the plight of mankind, we’re sickened for Emilie.
Production time was extremely limited, which meant Swanberg and Barrett had to forgo elaborate visual effects and create simple camera mounts to mimic the effect of shooting with laptop webcams. Emilie looks a bit like a product from a bygone era, but as Barrett acknowledges, “when you work with modern technology and try to make it current, all you guarantee is that your film will have the looks absolutely dated a few years.
Open Windows (2014) (Streaming on Amazon)
This white-fisted cyberthriller directed by Nacho Vigalondo explores vital themes – bodily autonomy, the dehumanization of celebrities, the insidious online personalities of many men. The problem is that it lacks the visual cohesion of HOST or Research, which makes it a chaotic and stimulating watch.
In an age of data breaches, privacy breaches, and trauma turned into commodities, Vigalondo’s story of a blogger and movie star entangled in a web of manipulation seems admirable, though a little convoluted. As an exploration of the internet fame and law that many feel on the bodies of famous women, Open windows is uplifting, though the twisty hacker plot that unfolds below feels a bit rote.
Without friend (2014) (Streaming on Netflix)