Writer/Director: Paul McGhie
Stars: Samantha Redford, Joseph Tremain and Nicola Wright
Synopsis (from IMDb): “When two young filmmakers suspect their neighbours are involved with the abduction of a teenage girl, they begin to run surveillance on them, and that’s when things start to go wrong.”
Webcast is a found footage/mockumentary style horror thriller, presented as a feature length film. The film starts with two student film makers, Chloe Webber (Samantha Redford) and Ed Dickens (Joseph Tremain). They are initially doing a follow up investigation of the disappearance of Chloe’s aunt many years ago by interviewing the neighbours who knew her at the time. We meet some colourful characters along the way and some are less cooperative with the questions than might be desired, considering how so many years have passed since the incident. In between takes of Chloe on active documentary duty, she records some video journals of her thoughts and catches us up on what has been happening. The camera is always rolling; with this however they uncover some questionable behaviour on film and begin to suspect that the neighbours are keeping a girl against her will, this is when things really start to get interesting.
The latter half of the film has our two protagonists trying to unravel the mystery of the rather dubious behaviour of the neighbours and the unexplained events, disappearances and illnesses that have certainly ramped up in frequency since they began to poke their respective noses into it all. This is all conveyed very convincingly by a very strong cast who come across very candid and natural. The camera work too is purposeful with no fancy aerial shots and the like that would break the immersion of the videos blog feel.
One main issue I would have with Webcast is that the feature length format does not suit it in the slightest, given that the middle of the film feels a bit bloated with filler, owing to the fact it is presented as a very genuine ongoing video blog. I would propose exactly that; the films own canonical methods as an alternative presentation. As they upload their findings and video at the end of each day. I would split the film up into five acts, also given that the climax itself is the only actual live webcast and in the context of the film is the only way possible that this “footage” made it out for public viewing following the climactic scene. I did personally have to watch this in packets to fully appreciate its style.
Overall however, Webcast is a competently made horror thriller and a feature debut for writer/director Paul McGhie with an excellent cast on hand too, to really push this from run-of-the-mill low budget horror to a genuinely engaging and entertaining film with subject matter that will really make you rethink how you see your neighbours, or anybody for that matter. If there was a hint less paranormal you could have taken this as 100% authentic docudrama with believable occult leanings. There is enough here to satisfy your horror needs for sure. McGhie is one to watch.
Verdict: Tony Blair Witch Project