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Saturday, February 1, 2020

Review: Deadcon

Director: Caryn Waechter 
Screenplay: Scotty Landes
Year: 2020

Social media has been incorporated abruptly into our lives, especially in the lives of young people, many of whom have developed surrounded by the influence of this communication media. For some, social media has become a lifestyle and even its principal way for work. The horror genre is not exempt from the influence of technology and social media with titles such as “Apparition”, “Countdown”, “A.M.I.”, and now the newest addition to the Netflix horror catalog “Deadcon” use this influence as the basis for their plots.

A group of social media influencers meets in a convention that all of them are documenting in the respective platforms in which they manage. They all stay at the same hotel where the convention takes place, where one of the rooms holds a dark secret. Besides their personal problems and the pressure of keeping an image for their social media, these influencers are now haunted by a mysterious presence in the hotel.

“Deadcon” arrived at Netflix without making much noise and in a time where it is not common to add horror movies, which is already a bad sign, and the example of other movies that follow the same pattern, such as “Mercy Black”, should be enough to realize why. With this playing against it, “Deadcon” confirms all suspicions in just the first minutes of its runtime. Even worse, it adopts that cheap jump scares strategy, a bad decision from director Caryn Waechter (“The Sisterhood of Night”) that worsens the already bad quality of the movie.

Once the movie starts and we get to know the main characters the kind of idea that the script from Scotty Landes (“Ma”) pops out. The influencers that are the main characters, well interpreted by Lauren Elizabeth (“Bad Night”), Claudia Sulewski (“A Christmas Caron + Zombies”), Keith Machekanyaga (“Timeless”), and Lukas Gage (“Midnight Kiss”) are as unrealistic and dumb as they are annoying and instead of sympathizing with them, we just want to see the moment when they die. Actually, not even their deaths are satisfying, as they are disappointing, to say the least, and some of them have a horrible CGI that accompanies some of the scenes.

The plot seems to want to make some references about modern times where we are always being watched, anticipated by George Orwell in his novel “1984”, as well as some commentary about the compulsive use of social media, but the plot is so uninteresting that it makes it a task to get these references. Similarly, it gets inspiration from other vastly superior haunted hotel rooms movies, like “1408”, that is of little help. This inspiration it seeks on prominent works is not at all reflected in the final product, only showing some glimpses as to make you suspect where they came from and not much more.

“Deadcon” fails at almost all that it proposes, starting with the disjointed plot and the unlikeable characters, and ending with the most basic horror movie rule, that is to be scary. Nothing in the plot gets the viewer’s interest, impressive coming from the same screenwriter that wrote “Ma”, that without being an outstanding script, it is substantially better than this one. Another disappointing addition to Netflix’s horror catalog that will surely go under the radar of many fans and this is maybe the best that could happen.

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