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{Scream Fest 2022} 8 Found Dead (October 17th)

Hollywood has an issue with influencers. Mostly it doesn’t get or understand how influencers are impacting popular culture. Specifically legacy media does not understand how influencers create engaging content and build audiences. As a result they often fall into the trap of creating single dimensional influencer characters who lack depth. As a result they often miss opportunities to explore what this evolution means. Director Travis Greene’s 8 Found Dead a meta modern slasher whose performance does not quite reach its ambition falls into this trap.

The film’s premise is not entirely different than a previous film this fall that looks at the trials and tribulations of folks looking to book an Airbnb. What would we do if we booked a house and found out it was still occupied. In the films first act we get a series of competing plot lines centering around two couples headed out to the country for a long week. The chemistry between the couples is stellar as each not only provides momentum but also are completely believable as duos that fit well together in a realistic fashion.

As the films second act manifests we meet the older third couple led by very strange Richard (Tim Simek). It appears as if the Airbnb belongs to them. As a result everyone seems a bit baffled by the circumstances that brought them all together. This second act drags as we figure out the rules of the game and just how the evening might play out. Once we get the details of why the younger couples are making the trip the entire tone of the movie shifts. What appeared to be a relatively light and fun premise to a slasher becomes very heavy and this shift in tone may rub some audience members the wrong way. It goes from light to dark in a span of about five minutes that honestly took me a little bit of time to catch up with.

There is a weirdness to how the older couple approaches their scenes that initially I took as kinky. It is almost a fetish that seems at the very least an interesting bit of character development. As the plot plays out I became slightly more confused. More importantly I didn’t really know what to do with the tone of the movie that may or may not have been a little kink shamey….maybe.

The flashbacks and flashforwards are supplemented by a police story that is the most interesting part of the entire film. I felt very much that I was along for the investigation. As the police officers found clues I felt like we gained understanding. While allowing cops to be the audience surrogates is certainly not ground breaking I found it to be one of the strengths of the film. I enjoyed the rocky relationship between the two. This also helped place me in the room with them. The space between the characters allows the audience to find a spot right between them. The end of the film does not flinch from its nihilistic final twenty minutes. It offers up one last flash back that feels like it was written and shot to give some explanations but ultimately only added to my confusion.

8 Found Dead has all of the parts of the successful movie. A talented cast with great chemistry. A plot that appears to be timely. Writing that is quippy and interesting, especially early on. 8 Found Dead feels unfinished though. Its not fully formed and as a result this unfinished quality left me frustrated much like my last Airbnb visit. It is streaming this week at L.A.’s Screamfest.