Without spoiling, we review, Clickbait Feature Film/Movie: A Fun Social-satire & Horror-Comedy About A Stalker Trending on the Livestream Site!
Launch Over’s social-satire, horror-comedy feature film, Clickbait, was published on US VOD (Video On Demand) on June 18th, 2019. Produced & Directed by: Sophia Cacciola, & Michael J. Epstein. Starring: Colby Stewart, Brandi Aguilar, Seth Chatfield. with: Ryan James Hilt, Ikaika Jonathan, Makeda Kumasi, Jannica Olin, Johannes Grenzfurthner, Sarah Paterson, Sophia Cacciola, Brittnee Hollenbach, Lianne O’Shea, Michael J. Epstein, Matt Stuertz, Jeremy Long, Jill Galbraith, Tyler Sage
The film is 1 Hour 20 minutes long (Including credits) and can be watched in resolutions- 4K, 2K, 1080p Full HD, 720p, 480p, & 360p. The film has won a number of festival awards and critics all over the world are praising it for humor, performances and social commentary.
A college student who will do just about anything for Internet fame is kidnapped by a fan, and her reluctant roommate is the only one who can save her in this horror satire of popularity culture.
Several Festival Awards Won:
- Starburst International Film Festival: Best Feature
- Arizona Underground Film Festival: Best Horror Feature
- Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival: Best Micro-budget Feature
- GenreBlast Film Festival: Best On-Screen Duo (Colby Stewart and Brandi Aguilar)
- FANtastic Horror Film Festival: Best Supporting Actress (Brandi Aguilar)
- Sanford International Film Festival: Best Music
The film is a horror comedy which shows the danger as well as humor of the current social media situation, in which everyone is trying to be viral or make it to the top trending charts. Our protagonist Bailey has managed to be a top trending video streamer on a video streaming site called Str33ker.com which is a fictional site in real world that can be visited for now as something complimentary marketing to the movie. It has the looks of YouTube and breakneck competition of Twitch, along with intrusive unskippable advertisements of the cable TV.
What starts the film is not a happy but worried Bailey as her top spot is in danger because a cancer patient, Laura’s streams (or flashes, as they’re called on Str33ker) start gaining popularity due to empathy for her. Bailey’s roommate Emma consoles her and tries to make her realize that online fame isn’t everything. The losing trend of Bailey starts to show as she is ignored or mocked during a Halloween party Bailey and Emma both visit. It’s after that party; the events take a drastic and dark turn as Bailey’s home key is lost and picked up by a mysterious long time fan and stalker who starts visiting their home at night. What’s creepier (or funnier) is that the stalker starts streaming his stalking activities on Str33ker and Bailey become a top trending Str33r member again!
Now, the first social issue explored by the directors is highlighted as Bailey allows the stalker to stalk and film them because she’s becoming popular again. Thus, the title ‘Clickbait’ becoming a reality as Bailey becomes bait for easy ‘clicks’. It shows that in today’s world, people would do anything and allow anything to happen to them if it makes them famous. The root cause of so many controversial video creators and streamers we have in today’s world.
The second social issue is highlighted as Emma tells Bailey that online fame; especially on just one website isn’t enough for a living and that’s why she should focus on her biology studies to have a normal career besides being a Str333ker. While it’s true that many careers are possible as an online professional, being a steamer is a volatile career as you can be replaced by the next big thing. Not to mention, what if the website stops your advertising revenue or even worse, the website shuts down?
There are some other issues portrayed like, fake products, excessive intrusive advertisements, dangerously modified foods, even political figures as masks are shown but nothing too explicit or strong enough to offend anyone.
When the stalker streams Bailey’s inner-wear wardrobe collection from the cupboard, Emma tells Bailey to not take a risk with the stalker and convinces her to inform the police. Detective Frank Dobson enters the movie and the first conversation has to be the funniest one you’ll ever see about a crime scene investigation. Not as perverse as ShowTime Dexter’s Masuka but a very carefully written collection of jokes that will make you chuckle without any guilt.
As seen in the trailer, Emma’s doubts become a reality as the stalker finally kidnaps Bailey and starts streaming as she screams and he talks to her. This aspect explores the dangers of social media, privacy and also, of being too drunk to carry your home’s keys. Will Bailey escape alive or will the stalker kill her? This is something that keeps you on the edge throughout the movie. The ending is funny yet dark as one of the characters go full psycho and you never see it coming..
The characters shown here are quite diverse and everyone from the cast plays their role quite well. Amanda Colby Stewart as Bailey has her own persona of a confident, intelligent & like-able person while Brandi Aguilar as Emma is a very reserved, smart and a mixture of Scooby Doo’s Velma Dinkley as well as Austin Powers. Makeda Kumasi as the professor is funny as she’s also affected by Str33ker fame of Bailey. The laugh of Ryan James Hilt is the best and so is the smooth performance of Cedric Jonathan. The scenes in the classroom, dissection, party and even the driving scene feel lively and real. The interaction between the characters is natural and the writing is so good that it never feels artificial. Seth Chatfield as the Detective is love-able and doesn’t feel cliché or annoying. Director Sophia Cacciola’s cameo as Mrs.Wilson is a mysterious and memorable part. The music is excellent, especially when we see stalker walking along the hedge is creepy and hilarious at the same time. The licensed songs make the movie feel very authentic. Special effects, make-up, sound and lighting have all created a very high quality movie.
The film doesn’t feel low budget at all. I think the movie tells the reality of today’s times, so, it should be rated PG-13 instead of R, not only because it should reach more audience and parents, but also because the content here isn’t as explicit as other horror films. There is some blood, some human organs (Heart, Intestines- Biology class, duh!), creepy situations, one bizarrely creepy Toot Strudel ad featuring a pink haired person. But there’s no nudity, no sex scenes, bad language is only there to portray Bailey’s “I don’t care” life style and close friendship with Emma. Despite being low explicit content, the movie has the horror element as we never know the identity or intentions of the stalker till the very end. The fear here is the fear of the unknown person and unknown consequences. While the ending is not a cliffhanger, I just wish we could see what happens after the post credits scene (Yes, watch the film till the end!) but I think it wasn’t added to keep the horror-comedy tone intact and not end the story of the leading friends in a clichéd way.
Overall, the feature film- Clickbait is a blast to watch from the start to finish which you shouldn’t miss at any chance. It shows us the importance of having a meaningful real life besides having a creative and fun online life. It is one of the rare horror comedies that will delight both horror and comedy fans. I hope we get to see a sequel or a spin-off web series featuring this cast. The chemistry between the main leads, energy of the entire cast, directors’ unique method of story-telling makes it not only an entertaining watch but also an enlightening one, which teaches us several lessons about the true meaning of life, volatile nature of social media, creative film making as well as how to blend the two very opposite genres of horror & comedy perfectly together in an entertaining and fun way!
Produced and Directed by Michael J. Epstein / Sophia Cacciola
Starring: Amanda Colby Stewart, Brandi Aguilar, Seth Chatfield
with: Ryan James Hilt, Ikaika Jonathan, Makeda Kumasi, Jannica Olin, Johannes Grenzfurthner, Sarah Paterson, Sophia Cacciola, Brittnee Hollenbach, Lianne O’Shea, Michael J. Epstein, Matt Stuertz, Jeremy Long, Jill Galbraith, Tyler Sage
Written by Jeremy Long and Michael J. Epstein
Cinematography: Matt Stuertz and Paul Zurcher
Music: Night Kisses featuring Catherine Capozzi, Michael J. Epstein, and Sophia Cacciola
Editing: Michael J. Epstein
Key Make Up Artist: Sosi Bournazyan
Sound: Winston Moore
Key Grip: Tyler Sage
assistant director – party and classroom: Izzy Lee
Narration by Ben Patrick Johnson
WATCH THE FILM NOW:-
Regularly updated list of the available platforms where you can watch it: http://launchover.com/launch/clickbait/
FOLLOW THE FILM ON SOCIAL MEDIA:-
IMDB – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – str33ker website
Official Music Video of The Film:-
What the Internet is Saying About this Movie:-
undercurrent of biting social commentary presented in a satirical manner.
Everything from social media to corporate sponsorship to instant celebrity to
the corruption of law enforcement and government is well and duly skewered. But
fret not, because while these themes are being explored, there is a true
reverence to our beloved horror biz on display as well (especially for the
slasher and giallo genres).” – Daniel XIII / Horror Fuel – 5 out of 5 skulls
“A scathing observation of the habits of the internet age, Clickbait asks us to take a hard look at our online viewing habits and the true reasons for our enjoyment of the darker things that appeal to us, and demands we truly consider the kinds of things we might be inadvertently complicit in.” – Andrew Marshall / Starburst – 8 out of 10
“You’re a click away from a topical and trendy horror satire…Clickbait’s humor is an evolution of the Kaufman schlock in TROMA films, updated for a modern audience, and dare I say a little more sophisticated for adults.” – The Headless Critic / Without Your Head – 4 out of 5 headless critics
“Fans of John Waters and Paul Bartel movies are in for a treat…” – Matt Storc / Horror Society – 3.5 out of 5 stars
“…enjoyable and visually entertaining (and original)..” – Michael Klug / Horror Freak News – 3.5 out of 5 stars
“…a ‘must see’ film.” – Jason Kittrell / Zombies in my blog – 4 out of 5 stars
“The filmmakers really need to be applauded for their astounding attention to detail and for making significant strides to make their own film unique…Michael and Sophia are helping to re-invent arthouse satire, and I am eager to see more. They are a part of the new wave of elevated indie horror that you just can’t pigeonhole. It’s exciting.” – Tiffany Blem / PopHorror
“CLICKBAIT puts the anxieties of popularity culture under a tongue-in-cheek lens, showing how people like Bailey, and even Emma, begin to fracture their personalities in order to construct new ones fit for internet stardom. This is a world, both in the film and in reality, where self-worth is measured by likes and retweets” – Matt Konopka / Nightmarish Conjurings
About Launch Over:-
Launch Over – Cacciola / Epstein— Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein are Los Angeles filmmakers, writers, musicians, and producers known primarily for low-budget horror and sci-fi feature films layered with modern sociopolitical commentary, including Blood of the Tribades, Magnetic, and TEN.
Launch Over website:- http://launchover.com/launch/
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