Watch out Netflix, because Snapchat may just become your new competitor! Sickhouse is the first ever movie to be broadcasted via Snapchat, but the real catch is that no one even knew they were watching a movie.
The entire horror movie was shot on iPhones and posted to social media celeb Andrea Russett's Snapchat story (@andwizzle), which meant each 10-second clip disappeared after 24 hours of uploading. The snaps totalled up to 68 minutes worth of footage filmed over the course of five days to prank the audience with. Viewers were only notified of the truth in the final snap sequence of the film.
No one was informed that the Snapchat videos were in fact fictional as part of a scripted movie. Russett's followers were led to believe that the star was in real danger, and some even considered calling the cops. Andrea addresses her concerns about the hoax:
"I had a big, big concern about that, but we went about it in a way that we weren't completely trying to trick people. We wanted people to understand it was a movie and that they were along for the ride."
This idea is a groundbreaking novelty that has the potential to reshape cinematic experiences as we know them. While this will certainly open the world of premium video content to a new perspective on how to use social platforms, as Andrea said, this particular trick is unlikely to succeed twice:
"You can only do something like that once, but it's definitely worth exploring doing other movies on social platforms."
The story revolves around Russett (2.5 million YouTube subscribers) going away for the weekend with her friends and her fictional cousin Taylour, who "took over" her Snapchat for the weekend (played by actress Laine Neil). This group of friends included Sean O'Donnell (1 million Instagram followers), Jc Caylen (over 2.6 million YouTube subscribers), and actor Lukas Gage.
What endearing camping destination did they choose? An eerie cabin called the "Sickhouse" located in the woods outside of Los Angeles. In reality, the set was located at a ranch near Calabasas, CA.
The Sickhouse supposedly has an eerie past after being inhabited by a former Hollywood producer, Joseph Bowman, who had ties to a 1930s crime family. They say the basement was used to torture and kill her family's enemies. His sickly wife Charlotte was held captive by him in this cabin, under pretext that she was contagious. The married couple went missing in 1978.
Today, it is rumored that you can see Charlotte's ghost wandering the premises. There are three house rules to surviving the Sickhouse, and trust me, you don't want to break them:
- "Don't Go Inside: They may be contagious.
- Don't Make Any Noise: Let them sleep.
- Leave A Gift On The Porch: It's only polite."
Produced by Indigenous Media, the full-length director's cut version, which features additional content, is currently available for purchase on Vimeo for $5.99. There was much improvisation on behalf of the actors, but Sickhouse was written and directed by filmmaker Hannah Macpherson (Wild For The Night). Take a look at the trailer: