In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Love Hurts.

Saturday’s midnight screening at Blood In The Snow was Vincent Pun & Jared Bratt’s dark romance Streamer.

A lonely filmmaker named Jared (played by Bratt himself) discovers that his favourite Webcam girl actually lives in his apartment complex.

In previous years, BITS's midnight screenings have often been the territory of off-the-wall comedies (Teddy Bomb) and irreverent slashers (Secret Santa). This was not the case this year however, as Streamer presented an all-too-real representation of one man’s despair.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen crushing loneliness this honestly portrayed onscreen. Bratt not only shows this in his performance, but also in the way he shoots the city of Toronto. Aside from the occasional shot of popular spots like Sneaky Dees, I’ve never witnessed The Big Smoke look so empty. Streamer felt very personal and introspective, which made where it ultimately leads all that more unsettling.

To really get into this though, I’ll have to do something that I don’t think I’ve done in the almost nine-year history of this blog. I can’t fully discuss this movie without talking about it as a whole, so spoilers be yonder.

To say I disliked this ending would be an understatement. I could have appreciated if Bratt & Pun wanted to end on a dour note, but I can’t help but feel it was completely disingenuous to their protagonist, as nothing I saw in his behaviour up to that point supported his actions in that final scene.

By his own admission, in a lengthy opening monologue spoken to the camera, Jared knows that his failure to connect with the opposite sex is his fault. He may be bewildered by the fact that he is an “invisible man”, but he still recognizes that it’s his problem. These are the words of a deeply depressed person and extreme cases tend to commit suicide, not homicide. Angry people, like Elliot Rodgers (as evidenced in his pre-killing spree YouTube video) commit homicide. I’m saying that there is a large margin between these two.

In fact, the only time I saw any animosity from Jared was right after he was confronted by the boyfriend. Even then, I’d wager that he was more mad at himself for not fighting back. Now, I’m willing to admit that my reaction to the ending has a lot to do with my familiarity with some of what led up to it. At times, Streamer played out like a Greatest Misses album, but you know what, I refused to live in a dark bubble of self-pity. As for Jared, he wasn’t a sociopath, he just needed some support. I don’t want to downplay the severity of clinical depression, but it just doesn’t jive with the ending of this movie.

I was even troubled by the end credits. Lead actress Tanya Lee (who put in an incredibly natural performance) was simply credited as “The Girl” inferring that she wasn’t a person, but rather a concept or lifeline to lift Jared out of his squalor. If that was the intention, that seems like an incredibly one-sided view.

Streamer could have been a sad and sobering look at loneliness in today’s modern world, but that ending just soured it for me. Kudos to Bratt & Pun for getting this spirited a reaction from me, but I wish it was for less frustrating reasons.


oren said...

From the beginning of this film Jared was looking for a scapegoat to his loneliness. I understand where your frustration is coming from however to say that no signs in his behaviour up to that point supported his actions in that final scene isn't true. I appreciate that you feel some familiarity with some of what led up to it, but he is stalking this woman. His actions are quite deplorable throughout the film and are probably not meant to be relatable. He is lying to her, being manipulative, and is constantly blaming her for his feelings. All of his daydreams involve HER seducing HIM, and his obsession becomes more and more unhealthy as the film progresses. He literally begs her to stop near the end. The camgirl became an excuse for his loneliness and by killing her he was killing that part of himself.

Jay Clarke said...

That's a valid interpretation. For me though, the idea of him blaming her for his unhappiness, instead of himself didn't come through, that's the main reason I didn't buy the end. I say he was looking for a savoir, or at least a distraction from his loneliness, not a scapegoat.