Graham Hughes (director)
25 August 2019 (released)
25 August 2019
Hard to know where to start with this very impressive debut from writer and director Graham Hughes as Death of a Vlogger covers so much ground offering both horror and cutting observations on complex social issues.
The essence of the film is that it is a mockumentary featuring footage of Graham (Graham Hughes), and interviews with others associated with him. Graham’s online presence constitutes mainly of silly japes until he falls on a supernatural thread, one that can he thinks will increase his web presence.
The footage goes viral attracting attention from believers and non-believers. Teaming up with internet ‘sensation’ Steve (Paddy Kondracki) a ghost hunter with a large online following they set out to prove it and other activities which includes holding a seance. Through most this Graham is supported by his loyal girlfriend Erin (Annabel Logan) however she can’t stop things getting out of hand.
All this attracts the debunkers in particular Alice Harper (Joma West) who sets out to not only show it all as fake but bring him down, hard. What follows is at times a quite vicious take on the addiction and negativity of social media, blended with a ghost story that has some real suspense and impact.
As the film progresses and opens up our perception of all the characters change. There is no doubt that Steve is a twerp and could be considered harmless if it wasn’t that he’s prepared to present fiction as fact, relying that people just don’t care anymore. Alice is no better preying on this and in some respects happy to play along so long as it suits her for their own ambitions. Neither appears to have any interest in the consequences.
The film features innovative use of mobile phone cameras as well as the usual talking heads. The skill demonstrated technically with a small budget and with much of the filming confined to flats and rooms is very impressive.
If at times it feels that the ghost story is secondary to the satire of the online ‘stars’ that litter social media and the real downsides of the medium, it’s doesn’t matter as taken as a whole there is a lot to think about and as much to enjoy.