Reviews: new Brit Indy horror with Webcast
Starring Samantha Redford, Joe Tremain, Nicola Wright
In this micro-budget Indy Brit film we have Blair Witch found-footage style horror. Two young film-makers start to suspect that one of their neighbours is up to no good. Chloe and Ed are dragged from trying to finish their college work into a darker world when they find a young girl running hysterically from a nearby house. The girl is taken back inside and their neighbours explain to them that this young girl is a drug addict they are caring for. This doesn’t sit too well with the young documentary film-makers and, suspicions aroused, they set out to gather proof that something more sinister is going on.
I want to give a shout out to the amazing Paul McGhie for contacting myself and the blog to have us review this film. I’m not normally a huge fan of the found-footage style of horror as most them are a case of ‘They should have hidden this footage better.’ Webcast, however, is so much better than most. It’s a mix of Blair Witch and The Wicker Man. Watching Webcast is one of those special treats that you get sometimes for being a reviewer. As I said, I don’t like the found-footage sub-genre of movies we see regularly when reviewing movies, but this one is actually a good watch. Never a bad thing to see someone taking a heavily used approach and doing something fresh with it (not to mention bringing the horror into the everyday suburban setting).
Several years previously Chloe’s Aunt went missing, and she’s still trying to uncover more of the story of her disappearance. This is all added to the mystery of the neighbourhood. The psychological thrills of the film are quite high as we travel through the timeline of the footage that Chloe and Ed have recorded in their investigations. The performances in the film are honest and basic; I’d say they are really slightly above average, which for the present state of the horror and thriller genre is very good.
What makes Webcast really impressive is that the budget for the film, according to IMDB, was just twenty thousand British pounds. That is amazing as that budget is the same as every time James Wan sneezes. This is what low budget should be.
The film has some issues, which you may expect for the budget and being a first feature from the writer/director. The mid section drags a little, but just a little, though it does serve to build the characters and the relationship of Ed and Chloe. Also there is a small amount of predictability, which you have to expect. And then Paul does something that you don’t expect which jolts you out of that prediction nicely.
We learn more and more about the creepy neighbours, and the fate of Chloe’s Aunt. There are the rituals, and mixture of footage from different eras of camera technology. What I really love here is the understanding that Paul McGhie has for the horror genre; he knows how to mix the rituals and elements of The Wicker Man with the isolation of The Blair Witch. It’s this understanding that makes Webcast rise above the norm. This is one found-footage that I will be happy to have in my DVD collection. The low budget and slight predictability to one side, it’s an enjoyable hour and a half of found footage fun, slightly marred by slightly confusing elements later on.
Low budget horror films and careers such as Paul’s should be nurtured with people willing to come out and see the film, finding it on streaming sites (great way for micro-budget Indy film-makers to get their work seen), and offering feedback. The film isn’t perfect – few are, even those with huge crews and budgets – but it’s entertaining and holds your attention, which is more than can be said for a lot of multi million dollar films. One has to ask themselves what Paul McGhie could do with a bigger budget and I for one will keep tabs on him from now on to see where he goes (not in the stalker sense though), but I just want to be able to point people to this film in the future and say ‘We all saw the potential there!’ Good work to all involved.