‘Deadware’ Is The Creepy Throwback We Needed [Unnamed Footage Festival 2022]

Deadware found footage

Deadware reminds us of a simpler time but makes it deadly. Two friends decide to reconnect via the internet and end up playing a haunted online game called “House of Hunger”. The game is a choose-your-own-adventure game where the dead have an insatiable hunger due to bad deeds committed during their life. They believe they’ve been invited to play by Amy, another distant friend they hope to reconnect with.

The movie is set in 1999 and feels very like what I imagine the pre-Myspace era internet was like. I could practically hear the DSL humming and an impending “You’ve Got Mail” as I was transported back in time. Listening to the characters reference AIM, and how they sent their friend Amy emails, while figuring out how this new share screen option works was weirdly adorable. The added technical glitches like echoing audio are nice touches to remind us where we came from to get to this part of the digital age. The point-and-click game they end up playing might also remind some of us that we have some unfinished business with games from our youth. I’m looking directly at a few Sega Saturn games that I need closure on immediately after watching this movie.

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One of the things I love about this movie is that it gets right to the point. We get the exposition naturally in dialogue and we’re not wandering around houses, cemeteries, etc. looking for scares. We pick up right with this awkward catch-up session between two friends and then open this game almost immediately. This mostly works because Rachel (Sarah Froelich) and Jay (Ali Alkhafaji) have great chemistry.

They capture that feeling of two people trying to reconnect after a little too much time has passed. The way they play off each other is where the movie excels. Watching them slowly come clean about parts of their lives they tried to omit is so honest. Seeing Rachel talk Jay into returning to the game he wants to quit gives us another glimpse at their friendship dynamics. The dread in them being the only two people witnessing this, but also being on opposite ends of the country, amped the tension up as well. When the sole person you’re depending on is too far away to be of any help the anxiety is cranked up past where it ever needed to be.

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Writer/director Isaac Rodriguez manages to give us a solid two-thirds of a movie that keeps us invested. However, around the third act, we start to see cracks in what is still a fun journey. This is where the dialogue starts to get repetitive, and the charm of the movie loses its hold on us. We also finally get the real dirt on Jay and Amy but it falls flat. This is in part why the ending feels rushed and like it fails the movie we were building towards. It’s almost as if the plane hit turbulence and we never fully got comfortable again before we descended. The reason why Amy and Jay had a falling out is ripe for exploration but isn’t fully developed.

Even though Deadware didn’t stick the landing for me, and is very predictable, it’s a mostly fun ride that clocks in at 68 minutes. It’s also one of those movies that excels because of its smaller budget instead of despite it.

Let me know if you’ve seen this movie at @misssharai.

  • Deadware


‘Deadware’ is more vibes than scares but manages to be an engaging good time regardless of its shaky landing.



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