An Average Movie-Goer’s Review
Spoilers! If you don’t want spoilers – check out the Spoiler-Free post
I love horror movies and if I’m going to watch them anyway, why not write an entertaining/funny review from the POV of an average movie-goer and not a professional critic.
Today we’re looking at 2021’s Deadware
When two friends catch up over a video call, they learn another mutual friend’s disappearance may be tied to a mysterious point-and-click horror game.
Is Deadware Scary?
Deadware has a couple of jumpscares and one or two tense moments but it never gets to the point of being a “scary” movie. Unfortunately, the low budget of the film is detrimental to a few scenes which causes the scares to feel a bit more silly than anything else.
In the end, you won’t leave Deadware scared of much unless you remember the days you had to pay for internet by the minute.
Deadware Full Plot Summary:
The film opens with Rachel (played by Christine Brown) starting a video chat with her friend Jay (played by Ali Alkhafaji) and for the first 10 minutes, they catch up with the latest events going on in their lives. Luckily the scene, dialogue, and chemistry feel authentic so you’re not that bored by it.
We learn Rachel moved to San Francisco to be with her boyfriend, Daveed, but he eventually cheated on her with a “real” vampire so she ended the relationship. Since then she’s been living on her own, working at a video store and as a production assistant hoping to eventually start working on films.
Jay, a college graduate with a history degree, says he recently moved out of his mother’s home and is now living with a roommate. We don’t learn much else about him until Rachel asks about a close mutual friend named Amy.
Jay gets pretty awkward and says that despite the connection the two shared, she turned him down when he asked her on a date. After that, Amy ghosted him and they haven’t spoken in about a year.
Rachel mentions she also hasn’t heard from Amy despite sending her a few emails but has seen her account active on AIM, that’s AOL Instant Messenger for you young folks… And that’s America On-Line for you even younger folks.
Rachel suggests they give her a call but Jay says it’s not a good idea and changes the subject to the video calling platform they’re currently using. This film takes place possibly in the early 2000s so his asking about how it works isn’t that weird… but it is suspicious.
After Rachel shares her screen to show that amazing screen-sharing feature, a corrupted image file of her and Amy appears on the screen.
This prompts Rachel to give Amy a call much to Jay’s protests which, again, comes off as awfully suspicious. Turns out it was just a prank bro. Rachel instead sends Amy an instant message but is met with her away message telling her she’s playing “House of Hunger”… hashtag not sponsored.
Jay gets the brilliant idea to go to the House of Hunger website and the two discover it’s a point-and-click horror game.
After Jay realizes the knocker of the house looks like demon-like creatures known as hungry ghosts, he refuses to play the game. Though Rachel tries to convince him, Jay says that unlike her and Amy, he’s not into the occult stuff.
As Rachel gets a phone call and steps away, Jay sees the computer mouse move on its own and click the “Play” option. He could have moved the mouse away, closed the window, or ended the video call but movies gotta happen.
Rachel returns and successfully convinces Jay to play the game despite his continued reluctance. The two are met with a guest book and discover the only other person who has played the game is ‘Amy’ but they figure the game might be unreleased.
Clicking into a room, the two find paper set in a typewriter titled ‘The Six Realms’ but the list underneath the title is empty. Jay remembers the six realms as a Buddhist belief and proves his bookshelf is not just for show when he pulls a book out and finds the list.
Typing the names of the six realms in “Heaven, Asura, Human, Animal, Ghost, Hell” causes a book in the game to turn red. Clicking on this opens a video of an unknown person walking through a field at night carrying what appears to be a heart.
The game returns and our dumbfounded protagonists find themselves in a dark hallway that appears to go on forever. Rachel takes control and after several clicks through the hall, there’s a jump scare as a jpeg of a woman briefly appears on screen.
After screaming, Rachel suggests the woman looked like Amy but Jay thinks she’s just scaring herself.
An elevator now appears at the end of the hall with the option of 6 floors. Jay assumes each floor represents the 6 realms and decides to go to the Human realm completely ignoring the Heaven option.
The game takes them to a decrepit-looking hallway with a large blood splatter on the floor which I think is the game’s way of saying humans suck. Entering another room, the two are met with a ghoulish-looking bloody woman standing in the room.
A riddle appears at the bottom of the screen “If I am not my body, not my feelings, not my mind… then what am I?”
Out loud Jay says “Nothing” and the door within the room opens on its own freaking him out as voice activation wasn’t a thing yet. Alexa is going to blow this guy’s mind.
The next room is a morgue but they’re interrupted with a notification appears stating that Amy wants to join their video chat. Despite Jay’s refusal, Rachel accepts but Amy’s video is too staticky to make anything out. After Amy’s video disconnects, Jay decides he’s had enough and quits the video call.
On her own, Rachel attempts to continue playing but the game locks up with a message “waiting for player 2.” Rachel calls up Jay and after begging him to return, he agrees but as his video comes online, a face of a ghoulish woman appears for a brief second.
Naturally, Rachel is freaked out but, she doesn’t say anything to Jay about it. And I think if you’re playing a haunted game and you start seeing ghosts, maybe tell someone? The two continue the game and are brought to an art gallery where they are asked to choose one of three paintings.
Since paintings are creations of a creator, Jay assumes this is the God or Asura realm and this leads into a conversation about the afterlife. Rachel reveals that after her breakup with Daveed, she attempted to end her own life and though she is happy to have survived, she believes there is no afterlife.
Clicking through the paintings, the two find one that resembles Rachel and decide not to choose that one.
Instead, they choose one of a dark forest which opens another clip of someone walking along a trail at night. The unknown person comes upon a well and we hear several babies crying from within.
Jay assumes the baby-well signifies the birth of something tying it all back to creation… so we’re just ignoring the babies trapped in that well. The next screen brings the two to catacombs lined with skulls and bones and Jay assumes they’re in the hell realm or France, either way, seems about right.
Clicking over to a wall of skulls, they hover over each skull to learn who it belongs to and how they died. All seems well and good until they hover over a skull and the pop-up reads “Amy, 31, Female Death by Murder”. The screen then transitions them to a spirit board and Rachel gets over seeing Amy’s skull real quick since she convinces Jay to keep playing.
The two place their hands on their respective mouses and Rachel starts asking the spirit board questions. They quickly discover the spirit they’re talking to is Amy and by that I mean the spirit tells them it’s Amy.
Rachel demands the spirit prove it’s Amy and a sudden knock is heard at Jay’s door. Terrified, Jay opens the door, sees no one in his hallway, and continues out of the room. It’s then revealed it was just Jay’s mom which means Jay was lying about living with roommates.
Also since when do mom’s just knock on doors and walk away? Where was the yelling? The reminder of how late it is? The threats to shut off the power?
Upon Jay returning to the computer, Rachel immediately calls him out on his lies and he apologizes along with promising to be honest going forward. The screen glitches and the two receive another video request from Amy as the game transitions to a graveyard.
This time the call connects but we only see Amy’s empty chair. Rachel calls out to her but gets no response.
Rachel remembers Amy had a blog and the two decide to visit it to gather clues on her disappearance. There they find a page displaying Amy’s obsession with the House of Hunger game and her belief that the game is haunted.
The two then find two videos on another page. The first shows a woman, implied to be Amy, walking along a trail at night until she reaches a plate containing a beating heart. Jay quickly realizes Amy was attempting to summon a hungry ghost and the heart was an offering.
The next video is a livestream of the graveyard and Rachel realizes it’s the same image currently displayed in the game. Switching over to it, they see a woman standing at the far end of the cemetery and recognize her as Amy.
The woman’s head suddenly turns and everyone. freaks. out.
Finally, everyone’s had enough of the game and they quickly close it leaving only Amy’s video call up. Sounds of someone crying are heard and Rachel desperately calls out to her. Remembering that Jay lives close to Amy, Rachel begs him to check on her but Jay refuses as he thinks Amy has lost her mind and is now dangerous.
Rachel decides it’s police calling time but Jay asks her not to and that’s a huge red flag. He finally admits that after Amy turned down his advances, he hacked into her computer and blocked all her friends and family except for him. He hoped this would make Amy feel like she was all alone and could only turn to him.
Rachel flips out on Jay and demands he go check on Amy or else she’ll call the cops. With no other choice, Jay heads over to Amy’s home. A few minutes later Jay breaks in and searches around the room as Rachel watches.
Jay discovers multiple paintings of Rachel and after screensharing Amy’s screen to Rachel it’s clear Amy was obsessed with her.
Finding another video for House of Hunger on the computer, Jay plays it and it’s the same video of Amy walking down a trail toward a beating heart. This time the video doesn’t cut off and we see the hungry ghost she summoned in the distance. As it growls the video freezes and we hear Amy scream.
The video cuts to another video, this one at Amy’s place as we see an angry Jay arriving and yelling at her. Jay screams at a crying Amy telling her he’s done helping her and throws a bunch of paintings at her before telling her he’d rather her die.
The video ends and we see Jay has disappeared. Rachel watches on as a picture of her and Amy appears on screen and then multiplies to cover the entire screen. In a jump scare, they all disappear and a possessed Jay appears on screen screaming.
Moments later Jay disappears, possibly taken by the hungry ghost and Rachel apologizes to Amy. In her apology, it’s strongly hinted that unbeknownst to Jay, Rachel and Amy were a couple until Rachel left her to pursue Daveed as she wanted more in life.
Rachel begs to speak to Amy and the spirit board re-appears on screen. After confirming it’s Amy, the board tells Rachel to die causing her to yell and run off-screen. Her screams suddenly stop as we hear her bones snap, presumably her neck.
The image of the cemetery appears and both Jay and Rachel, now dead, are standing in the distance.
Deadware Spoiler Review:
Deadware is good, sure some of the scares aren’t really effective because of the low budget but the other aspects of the film make up for it. The acting, dialogue, story, and the fact that the movie is only slightly longer than an hour all help its case.
That’s not to say those aspects are perfect, some dialogue is cringy, some acting is a bit over the top, and the story can be predictable but when you have a cast of 2 people just talking to each other it’s hard to avoid that.
Tying the “main antagonist” to real mythology and making it revolve around a game that feels like it could be real is always a plus in my book. This also helps divert your suspicions away from the cast and you’re kind of shocked at how evil Jay is revealed to be.
No longer are we watching innocent victims looking for a friend but instead we’re watching two people who hurt their friend and helped created the evil plaguing them.
Overall I would recommend Deadware especially since at just over an hour it’s not much of an investment and the scares are tame enough that even those easily frightened would enjoy it.
Stuff to Ignore
Metacritic – No Page