An interesting premise, a fascinating milieu and a grabby, “Blair Witchy” finale are the big pluses of “Deadcon,” a “trapped in an ancient chatroom” thriller that doesn’t frighten much — until it counts.
Lauren Elizabeth, Claudia Sulewski, Keith Machekanyanga and Mimi Gianopulos transform into convincing conventioneers who check into the wrong hotel for their Snapchat, vlogger “internet influencers” gathering.
Little do they know that long ago, an ahead-of-his-time developer tried to sell his MacIntosh-formed “LinkRabbit” chat room tech, and somehow trapped the essence of a missing little boy.
They’re just streaming away, living their lives on the web for their “fans,” their “subscribers” at AKAshley or MeganByte, posing for selfies, sitting on panels and fending off screaming tween fangirls.
Ashley (Elizabeth, of TV’s “Out of My League”) is over it. Every exhausted video claim of “I’m soooo excited,” “It’s going to be soooo much fun” or “I love you guys sooo much” has worn her out. She can’t do this. Only her assistant Kara (Gianopulos) can keep her on task.
Megan (Sulewski of TV’s “T@gged”) is still into it — the fame, the gift bags, the sponsorship money. She’s two-timing her vlogger beau with another vlogger (Machekanyanga of TV’s “Your Honor”). Life is good.
Until Ashley is shoved into a room that the hotel never uses. When front desk old-timer Warren (Carl Gilliard) finds out, he’s shaken. As he’s told the rest of the staff that room is haunted, some of them are spooked, too.
Poor Ashley won’t know what “8 bit demon” hits her.
Cinematographer turned director Caryn Waechter doesn’t get much of a jolt out of springs on a bed, depressing as if a child is jumping on it, or an empty chair spinning at the desk. Loud noises, thumps and shrieks are a little more on the mark.
And again, the finale has a nice payoff, sold by the able cast members who play it like they’re freaked out by it.
Too much of the prelude to that is perfunctory. And even if the convention is basically “50 Shades of Narcissism,” and kind of funny — it’s not as if we root for bad things to happen to these vapid web queens, or their fans.
Which seems to have been the intent. At least, at 77 minutes, “Deadcon” doesn’t waste much of our time.
MPAA Rating: unrated, blood, violence, sexual situations
Cast: Lauren Elizabeth, Claudia Sulewski, Keith Machekanyanga and Carl Gilliard
Running time: 1:17