The eponymous vlogger is Graham, a YouTube success story who appears to be in the midst of a haunting. Things start small and low key; a moved mug, a slammed door, but build in frequency and intensity as Graham uncovers a potential reason for the presence that has emerged. And all the while he finds that maybe the biggest threat of all is the online ecosystem he is a part of.
Tapping into today’s climate, Death of a Vlogger is an intriguing watch, complete with talking heads that offer context to the wider story around its protagonist. There is an adept understanding of the internet and, separately, horror. There is far less reliance on jump scares here then of a subtly shifting environment that makes the viewer scour the frame for the potential ghost. Proceedings are, mostly, confined to Graham’s flat and it gives an edge of a banal reality to the supernatural goings on. It makes the film all the more endearing and sadder in how the narrative develops.
This film very much belongs to Graham Hughes, who marks himself as a talent to keep an eye on. Hughes directs, writes, produces and edits Death of a Vlogger and is on screen for much of the running time. So it helps that in each area he proves particularly accomplished. As the lead character he gives a complicated performance, leaving the viewer in suspense as to what extent his terror is genuine right until the end moments. The film is a wonderfully ambitious watch, particularly as the haunting develops. Hughes directs and edits with aplomb and it leaves me excited to see what comes next.
Annabel Logan gives a heartfelt supporting turn that points to the tragedy in the title, while Paddy Kondracki feels suitably insufferable as a not-so-helpful fellow vlogger. It all hangs together nicely, chilling the viewer whilst offering something more complicated then you’d expect about the real world. There are occasional shortcomings that comes from low-budget indie cinema, but Hughes’ film could teach a thing or two to Hollywood about how to approach the ghost story in a modern-day setting. Here’s to the blossoming of another homegrown horror talent.