The Andy Baker Tape (2021) Movie Review – Horror on Tubi
The Andy Baker Tape follows popular YouTube food blogger Jeff Blake as he journeys to meet his half brother Andy. Growing up unaware of each other's existence. A recent exploration into Jeff's family history revealed that his father had another child. Eager to meet his long lost brother. Jeff decides to use the trip as an opportunity to improve his prospects of hosting a TV cooking show. Filming all of the events as part of his audition video. Despite Jeff's excitement, things begin to go horribly wrong as the pair road trip across the country.
Welcome to Knockout Horror and to another entry into our Horror On Tubi feature. Today we will be reviewing Found Footage horror movie The Andy Baker Tape. This is an interesting one for me because my fiancee and I played a drinking game while watching. We have put together a Found Footage game that has the potential to be lethal. I will be sharing it here soon for other horror fans.
There are a lot of these drinking games around. None of the ones we could find seemed to actually hit the spot, though. Hence, we made our own. The idea is pretty simple. When the movie features a trope from the list. You take a drink. You can drink whatever you prefer but shots aren’t advised, even if they are low proof. We, personally, whipped up some strong cocktails. We ended up at 18 drinks (like, drinks from the glass not actual individual drinks), a few chugs, and a few refills with this movie.
If we were doing it with shots, by the end of the second movie we would have been dead. The second movie had matched The Andy Baker Tape’s drink count in under 25 minutes. It was a lot of fun and makes reviewing the two movies a little difficult. Anyways, on with the review.
June is Horror on Tubi Month
For those of you who don’t know. For the month of June, we will be plucking all of our movies from free streaming service Tubi. To make it clear, we aren’t sponsored. I just wanted to shine a light on horror that can be found for free.
Sure, Tubi has a bunch of decent horror. Some of which is an easy recommend. But that isn’t what we are looking for here. That would be far too easy. We are looking for something a little less high budget. Something with a little less quality. Something with a decidedly amateur feel. That’s where today’s movie comes in.
Is This Another Awful Tubi Horror?
So far, things have been a bit of a mixed bag. We have sat through some utterly shite movies. Something Walks in the Woods, The Sleepless Unrest and Chest; I am looking at you. But something strange is happening, I feel like the scales are shifting. I never expected to be saying this but, with only a few days left to go. I feel like I have watched more above average movies than bad ones.
Seriously! I really enjoyed time loop horror ReSet. Death of a Vlogger and Lexi are both totally watchable. Bed Rest and Play Dead are fairly average but Godless: The Eastfield Exorcism is genuinely great. What the hell is happening? I didn’t plan for this at all. Today’s movie is going to skew that statistic even further.
The Andy Baker Tape
This movie obviously has a low budget feel. The cover is pretty awful, the name leaves a lot to be desired. And it is a found footage horror, clearly, filmed during the Covid lockdown. That’s pretty much the holy trinity of low budget right there. Don’t get me wrong, the fantastic Screenlife Horror Host managed to do it well. But most of the movies made around that time suck.
Surprisingly, The Andy Baker Tape is different. The Andy Baker Tape actually doesn’t suck. In fact, it is pretty good. Despite a simplistic plot and a limited cast. It does a lot of things right and is a completely watchable found footage horror movie. Sure, it isn’t going to blow you away but you aren’t likely to turn it off in disgust, either. Being thoroughly honest, that’s a win for found footage nowadays.
A Social Media Influencer Theme
The Andy Baker Tape has something of a social media influencer theme to it. A subject we have covered a lot in the past year. Horror always works best when the viewer can relate to it. Movie makers are starting to realise that influencers and social media references are easy topics for horror. Many younger viewers will have a list of influencers that they subscribe to. Many others will spend a lot of time on social media. It’s an easy and accommodating setting for scares.
The Andy Baker Tape follows popular YouTube food blogger Jeff Blake as he journeys to meet his half brother Andy. Growing up unaware of each other’s existence. A recent exploration into Jeff’s family history revealed that his father had another child. Eager to meet his long lost brother. Jeff decides to use the trip as an opportunity to improve his prospects of hosting a TV cooking show. Filming all of the events as part of his audition video. Despite Jeff’s excitement, things begin to go horribly wrong as the pair road trip across the country.
Simple but Effective
Obviously Found Footage is a go to for low budget movie production. But, as a style, it is kinda hard to get it right. It is far too easy to fall into tropes. Stories are, often, underdeveloped and the characters are difficult to care about. The Andy Baker Tape manages to avoid many of these pitfalls. While the story is extremely simple. The tight narrative keeps things moving along at a fairly nice clip.
We only have two characters to focus on. The story, itself, is built around the dynamic between these two characters. The pair are, clearly, from extremely disparate worlds. Jeff is a well known YouTube personality that travels the country eating food and making money. Andy is a mechanic that spends his time working and playing “Fruit Ninja” in his yard with real fruit and a meat cleaver. The differences are stark and make for a pretty interesting dynamic.
While Jeff isn’t the most believable YouTube personality. Really lacking in that certain quality that would suggest he had the potential to strike it big on social media. As well as struggling to describe food in a particularly creative manner. The relationship between him and Andy is still easy to buy into. With the pair genuinely feeling like two completely different people in completely different places in life. Jeff is about to strike it big while Andy is worrying about losing his house. Something that makes for a degree of tension from the start.
Road Trip Horror
Wanting to get to know each other better. The pair decide to make an extended journey together. Stopping off at various venues to pick up, and review, food along the way. Jeff sees this as an opportunity to produce unique content. Whereas Andy just appreciates spending time with his brother. The two actors here work well together and seem comfortable on camera. As the movie goes on, relationships change and things go from bad to worse.
Naturally, this movie was produced during the Covid pandemic. Meaning the D.I.Y. nature of things was something of a necessity. This is one of those horror movies that feels as if it came as a result of those restrictions. Not in spite of. Having everything on lockdown seemed like, almost, a challenge to some movie makers. That feels like the case here. It makes for some interesting scenarios, though.
Instead of spooky houses, we have roadside stops and low cost motels. Instead of high quality visual effects we have innovation and creative shooting. The constantly moving, and dynamic, nature of the setting keeps the visuals interesting. As well as making for some decent comedy. Whether this setup works for the scare factor, or not, is up for debate. Although the characters being trapped or lost in unfamiliar places could make for tantalising horror prospects. That isn’t really the case here. Much of the road trip is used for simple scene setting and story building. A missed opportunity, perhaps.
Not Exactly Scary
The Andy Baker Tape doesn’t actually manage to deliver on the fear. I don’t know if it is because of the dynamic between the two actors being fluid and friendly. Or because Bret Lada is a rather big dude who doesn’t look like your typical horror movie fodder. But the scares here never really come. There isn’t any sense of threat and there isn’t a tremendous reason to feel unsettled. For much of the movie, this is two people, who are clearly friends, having a laugh together.
While that doesn’t impact on the movie a great deal. Those looking for horror might be left wanting. There just isn’t that much to grab onto. Scares are, almost, non-existent and the only atmosphere to speak of comes from interpersonal tension. Something you might expect from the two characters who have never spent time together.
The story could have used a little fleshing out. Character motivations often lack explanation and some of the actions don’t make much sense. The ending is left somewhat open and feels a bit lazy. But the scenes leading up to it are fairly intense. Even if they do lack in build and seem to come out of nowhere. I suppose The Andy Baker Tape might better be described as a Found Footage crime thriller.
Still Very Enjoyable
This is still an enjoyable movie, though. In much the same way as Creep manages to do a lot with a little. The Andy Baker Tape does the same. Taking the viewer to a number of interesting locations. Building an intriguing story and giving you a reason to invest in the characters. The ending could have used a little longer in the oven. Feeling a bit under cooked and a little bit rushed. But it still manages to take you on a mini roller coaster ride. Keeping you guessing for the last 15 minutes or so.
Performances are decent. Bret Lada, as Jeff, is, obviously, extremely comfortable on camera and does a nice job. Managing to be convincing while never feeling too false or prosthetic. He doesn’t always nail the YouTuber style personality. Seeming a bit lost when describing food and addressing his audience. Something that could have been fixed with some tighter scripting. But he does a good job for the most part.
Dustin Fontaine’s performance, as Andy, is a little more understated but equally effective. He manages to go from happy to unhinged in a convincing manner. Camera work is decent and the movie never feels as low budget as most found footage.
Movies like this really have to be viewed from a different angle. As I mentioned with Host. The fact that while most of us were sitting on our arses trying to avoid eating too much. Some people were out there innovating and making movies is incredible. The Andy Baker Tape was, obviously, produced against enormous obstacles. And I think the fact that the crew managed to put together something that is, not only watchable but, genuinely decent. Deserves a tremendous amount of praise.
Final Thoughts and Score
The Andy Baker Tape is a legitimately enjoyable found footage horror movie. Produced against a backdrop of world crisis. The fact that this movie even exists is a testament to the creativity of the people who made it. Decently acted and fairly interesting for much of its length. This is a found footage that feels a cut above many others. The interesting character dynamics keep you engaged and the road trip setting feels unique.
Performances are decent and feel natural. The story could have used some fleshing out and the ending feels a little bit under-cooked. But, all things considered, The Andy Baker Tape is an easy recommend. If you don’t like found footage, it won’t change your mind. And if you are looking for scares you might be left disappointed. But if you are satisfied with an interesting story and interpersonal drama. This might be a great option. You can check The Andy Baker Tape out on Tubi completely free.
If you like the look of this movie. There are a few that are similar just below. If you like Found Footage horror then you can check out our list of 25 Found Footage Horror Movies You May Have Missed. We also have a list on Social Media Themed horror and this one will likely end up in a future list about social media influencers. If you want to stick around, why not check out some horror movie reviews? I’m updating all the time so check back often.
Trailer: The Andy Baker Tape
|Release Date:||12th August 2022|
|Movie Type:||Horror, Found Footage|
|Movie Length:||70 Min|
|Starring:||Bret Lada, Dustin Fontaine, Caitlin Borek|
|Directed By:||Bret Lada|
|Written By:||Bret Lada, Dustin Fontaine|
|Produced By:||Caitlin Borek, Arthur Giamalidis|
|Parental Guidance:||Peril, Violence, Language|