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RNRF X Salem Horror Fest 2024: “Official Selection”, Livescreamers

From our first Salem Horror Fest-related post this year we shared more or less what our thought process is like when selecting movies to review since we can’t review them all (Sounds like a challenge!) but what we didn’t reveal is that our initial picks are usually of the “Oh! Oh! Oh!” variety meaning we go for the stand outs for us regardless of when they’re actually premiering. Then we realize what we’ve done and become more sensible after that first Horror gorge because, in all honesty, we do wanna see ALL of what Salem Horror Fest has to offer. And also want to have time to showcase as much as possible hopefully in advance of the screening.

Which brings us to now and Livescreamers from writer and director Michelle Iannantuono. Which also happens to be a sequel to Iannantuono’s 2018 Livescream bringing us to another look before we leaped situation but have no fear, you can go into Livescreamers with absolutely no knowledge of its’ predecessor (Whoops!) and still have a blast (And if you have seen the original will be tickled by the references to characters and more throughout).

And did we just say “have a blast”??? We did! In the age of an abundance of found footage and modern tech-based Horror, Livescreamers is an impressive entry into the genre with a solid story, and even more solid ensemble cast, and just the right amount of intrigue and scares to cause even the most hardened Horror fan perk up.

“It’s some New England brand creepy shit!”

So says gamer Dice (Maddox Julien Slide) when the group from Janus Gaming (“The many faces of gaming”) settles in for their next live stream event featuring Indie underground House Of Souls which, according to Janus founder Mitch (Ryan LaPlante) is not even on the market yet. Along with married Taylor and Gwen (Coby C. Oram & Sarah Callahan Black), “not a couple but they play one on TV” Jon & Davey (Christopher Trindade & Evan Michael Pearce), perennially positive Zelda (Anna Lin), resident old head (As the kids would say) Nemo (Michael Smallwood) plus fan Lucy (Neoma Sanchez), who recently won the opportunity to game with the group after a charity event, it’s time to “Press Play” and begin.

The fun of seeing Livescreamers is to watch along as the players quickly find out that all is not as it seems (Surprise!) so we’re not going to get into the plot of the game itself too much but will say that it’s a great mix of Resident Evil and some larger franchises who’ve been dipping their toes in the gaming world (Evil Dead, Friday The 13th) recently as far as House Of Souls is concerned. Basically, though, NPC Davey shows up and the proverbial shit starts hitting the fan right away. People die, secrets are revealed, and Livescreamers will have you guessing until the stunning conclusion who (If any) will make it out alive. On the people end of it all, Iannantuono has crafted a fantastic multi-faceted story and collected a dynamic yet diverse cast to bring it all to life with revelation upon revelation touching upon both gaming and cancel culture, the LBGTQ+ community and community in general (Dice at one point shouts “Because my ass wakes up queer ever day” during a tense confrontation on Jon & Davey’s “will they or won’t they” schtick) while honoring but also taking necessary pokes at Horror tropes.

Livescreamers from Octopunk Media debuts as part of the “Official Selection” series during the Salem Horror Fest with filmmaker in attendance over at Die With Your Boots On on Friday, April 26th. For more details on that you can head here and here and for the rest of the “Official Selection” flicks, head here. For more from Salem Horror Fest, including info on all the screenings and events happening this year, be sure to follow the socials by heading here, here, and here.

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