Ghost Webcam – Horror Review
A young man under house arrest and his friends are haunted by an unknown force after logging onto a website that broadcasts images from a haunted room.
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Welcome to Knockout Horror and to another Horror Movie Review. Today we are taking a look at the no-budget computer screen horror movie Ghost Webcam. We are going on a bit of a Screenlife, Computer Screen Horror frenzy this week. We will have a few movies from this Found Footage spin-off genre for you. Why not check them all out?
Anyway, back to Ghost Webcam. Man, that is a terrible name for a horror movie. I believe the working title for this was Clear Your History? That is a far better name. Still, given the context of the movie, Ghost Webcam is quite fitting. This will be a fairly short review. There isn’t a ton to say here. I decided to give this a watch as I am a huge fan of Found Footage. Computer Screen horror, more commonly known as Screenlife horror, is always easy to watch, as well.
This movie is currently free to watch in the US on Tubi. Tubi is a pretty neat service offering a whole bunch of excellent horror. The vast majority of which seems to be completely free. Naturally, I had to fire up a VPN to partake as I live in Wales. But it’s a great service. You Americans are really spoiled for choice when it comes to horror. In the UK it feels like we only have Shudder and whatever Netflix scraped off its shoes. Never mind, on with the review.
Ghost Webcam – A Haunted Webcam?
Ghost Webcam follows the story of Nate. Stuck at home after being placed under house arrest. Nate is looking for some fun. He signs up to a dating website with a rather shady reputation. On there he meets a young woman called Mia. While chatting with Mia, the pair appear to be hitting it off. The conversation suddenly turns to the paranormal. Mia, seeming to be a believer in ghostly phenomena. Invites Nate to a website that features a webcam focusing on a table and chair. Little does Nate realise that logging onto the website will have serious consequences.
So as far as plot goes, this is about as loose as they come. Nate is stuck at home, he wants some nookie, he hits up a dating site. Nothing at all out of the ordinary. Mia seems like an intelligent person and they hit it off. She shows Nate a webcam and things quickly begin going wrong. Focusing heavily on the paranormal and tapping into the online obsession with everything spooky. Ghost Webcam follows a fairly timely and apt topic. Despite this, it manages to feel incredibly old and rather outdated.
Ghost Webcam – Computer Screen Found Footage
Computer Screen Horror is a fairly interesting brand of Found Footage. Utilising webcams and messaging apps to facilitate story building and character interactions. Screenlife horror is, most definitely, not for everyone. Not only can the presentation lack atmosphere and tension. It can feel a bit cheap. This genre does afford directors opportunities to become creative, though. They have to find unique and interesting ways to keep the viewer engaged. Scares have to develop slowly. Character interactions form the basis of the movie. Everything else feels very secondary. It is the character’s reactions that form the basis of most of the fear. A few films have managed to utilise this concept brilliantly.
An absolute classic that immediately springs to mind for me is The Collingswood Story. A similar “no budget” webcam and messaging app based horror movie from the early 2000s. The progenitor of the genre if you will. More recent examples including the pandemic based movie Host from 2020. And the slightly older Unfriended. Both are quite effective movies utilising screenlife presentation. They all stand as examples of how this genre can actually work quite well. None of them had anything resembling a budget. None of them used much in the way of special effects. The one thing they had in common was interesting interactions and an interesting plot. So, the question here is. How does Ghost Webcam manage to fail so badly at this?
Ghost Webcam – A Lot of Issues
I almost feel bad shitting on this movie. I appreciate that making films must be incredibly difficult. Ghost Webcam was clearly made on virtually no budget. It, in itself, is an accomplishment. As mentioned above, however, there are movies that did the exact same thing. Had the exact same budget issues. The exact same constraints and still managed to be effective. Ghost Webcam manages virtually none of those things.
The story is fairly engaging for a little while. As many of these types of movies are. It is easy to invest when your entire focus is on two people talking. Additional details about the characters are drip fed in. We learn more about them and watch them interact. It’s interesting stuff for a little while. Despite this, the problems start almost immediately.
Character interactions feel stilted and inorganic. There is a distinct sense of their conversations being heavily scripted. There is an even deeper sense of the actors not actually talking to each other. This was the case in The Collingswood Story. Actors never actually interacted with each other. Despite that style of filming, it was never particularly noticeable. In Ghost Webcam, it really is. Pregnant pauses and delays between replies are constant. Reactions seem either muted or over the top. Chemistry is non-existent. It makes for something of an awkward watch.
Ghost Webcam – A Silly Story and Lacking in Scares
The story here is rather silly. Aside from the confused messages conveyed by the film. Events that take place make little to no sense. Webcam conversations with friends are one thing. When you start crossing plains of existence to strike up a chat. Things start to lose credibility pretty quickly. Nothing is explained, much of the story’s key elements remain ambiguous. Characters are never developed. Important plot points are left for the viewer to make assumptions. It’s as if the writer had the foundation for a story but lacked the building materials. When all is said and done. Everything is suddenly wrapped up with a lacklustre and silly explanation.
On top of those issues. This is a movie devoid of scares. The webcam placed in a haunted house concept is a fairly interesting one. But the execution is completely lacking. The viewer is almost completely robbed of engagement with the webcam. We are entirely reliant on the reactions of the characters to know what is happening. There are no moments of rewarding background watching. No clever use of shadows to create tension. The webcam quickly becomes a vehicle for minor exposition. Exposition which comes at the cost of scares. Robbing the movie of surprises.
Characters are introduced with little fan fare. Poorly thought out scenes place said characters in danger. Only for the characters to die ridiculous deaths. Moments that should be tense and atmospheric. Are, instead, a bit farcical and silly. Ghost Webcam is incredibly difficult to invest in. Provoking laughs far more than it should. I understand that this is low budget. But low budget doesn’t have to mean low quality. Host and The Collingswood Story are examples of that. This is a concept that can work. But it requires a competent writer and a director with a keen eye for scares.
Ghost Webcam – The Actors Really Try
Acting is hard to judge due to the stilted speech and terrible writing. The disconnected nature of the character’s interactions doesn’t do this cast any favours. Emonjay Brown, as Nate, does an okay job. He stumbles on his lines a few times and his reactions are, occasionally, unconvincing. But he is tasked with carrying most of the plot and managing most of the interactions. It’s not as though he had much to work with, either. Cassandra Due is decent as Mia. She has convincing reactions and is natural with her delivery. Her accent could use a little work, though. I am assuming she isn’t actually American. Non-American actors have a tendency to try and perform regional American accents. They would be much better picking a generic, middle of nowhere, US accent.
Ariel Davis, as Vick, is fine. He has decent delivery and, again, feels natural. Something that is important for these types of movies. Trinity Curtis, as Kate, is probably the most capable. She tries so hard with this role. I genuinely felt bad for her at times. The silliness of the story means she really has to stretch. She gives it her all, though, and likely has a bright future.
The script here is so utterly awful. The actors are left trying to make sugar from shit. They really do their best but they didn’t have much to work with. Cinematography is poor, obviously. These are webcams placed over computer screens. The quality is fine but nothing to write home about. Loud, obnoxious, music plays throughout. Reminded me of a Japanese horror game like Resident Evil. Practical effects are garbage. Floating images of a couple of characters hovering randomly in one scene stands out. It really looks quite pants and is particularly hilarious. Scenes featuring fake blood reminded me of the stuff you’d get around Halloween. You know the stuff? Slightly translucent and has a strong, not-unpleasant, smell. It’s all just very low rent. Less is more would have been key here.
Is it a Knockout?
Ghost Webcam is one of those movies that feels a bit pointless. I am a huge found footage horror fan and a big fan of computer screen horror. This is a genre that can be done well on virtually no budget. Ghost Webcam just lacks in every department. Its story is confused and farcical. It completely lacks in scares. Its entire concept is flawed and a bit silly. The practical effects are awful and the script is really bad. The actors try really hard with what little they have. The truth is, there is no saving this movie.
I feel bad shitting on a movie that someone has worked hard on. I know making films isn't easy and I appreciate the effort. I do think some people will enjoy this movie, as well. It isn't too demanding. And the computer screen found footage genre, somehow, still feels fresh. This is just a painfully below average movie, though. Host, Unfriended, and The Collingswood Story prove that you can do a lot with a little. This doesn't even come close to them. Its short runtime means it isn't a tremendous ask. Still, don't expect too much. Ghost Webcam simply doesn't deliver.
Trailer: Ghost Webcam
|Release Date:||4th March 2023|
|Movie Type:||Horror, Found Footage|
|Movie Length:||60 Min|
|Starring:||Emonjay Brown, Cassandra Due, Trinity Curtis, Ariel Davis|
|Directed By:||Sebastian Dove|
|Written By:||Sebastian Dove, Gabriel Molnar|
|Produced By:||Sebastian Dove|
|Parental Guidance:||Language, violence|