Death of a Vlogger is a mockumentary that makes a smart social commentary on internet culture and the rise and fall of the modern-day social influencer with a ghostly twist.
Writer and Director Graham Hughes takes the lead role as ambitious content creator, also named Graham who experiences a spike in his viewing figures when he starts to post videos suggesting that there’s paranormal activity occurring in his flat. Through a talking heads format adjoined with internet clips, the film explores the power of social media and how easy it is to deceive online users by making them see what they want to believe.
Death of a Vlogger is a candid snapshot into social media addiction, the desire for popularity and the monstrous ego it creates. The film depicts both sides of the coin with Graham’s associates, girlfriend Erin (Annabel Logan) and delusional self-described “paranormal investigator”, Steve (Paddy Kondracki) giving their side of the story as Graham’s popularity begins to rapidly dwindle.
The introduction of investigative journalist Alice (Joma West) is where things become interesting as she sets it upon herself to debunk their supernatural claims. A figurative tug-of-war ensues as Hughes cleverly sways the narrative one way only to offer another perspective leaving the audience to play a meticulous guessing game, looking out for clues with only the characters word as the main source of evidence.
The film is minimalistic and straightforward, there aren’t any elaborate sets used or over-the-top special effects, that said it is completely effective in what it does. The narrative is well presented and structured in a way that keeps the mystery engaging, gradually introducing new characters and bringing in more layers to the storytelling, ensuring that nothing will be what it seems.
Each performance feels natural and authentic, capturing the essence of the current trend of internet vloggers, namely those who carry a sense of self-importance and will go to any lengths to remain relevant and adored by their following. Its as if a genuine documentary is being played out before our eyes and that is a testament to Graham Hughes’s brilliantly-crafted dialogue, editing and plotting.
Blending paranormal horror and found footage isn’t breaking new ground, however Death of a Vlogger contains something special about it, featuring unnerving moments, gasp-inducing tension, great British humour all while offering a stark commentary on mental health and the powerful influence that having an online presence can have. Highly recommended for fans of the genre and beyond.
Death of a Vlogger played at the Unrestricted View Horror Film Festival 2019 where it won the Love Horror Award.