#Chadgetstheaxe Is Frightening, Fun, and Out on VOD Today!

Image courtesy of The Horror Collective

With the prominence of social media and content creators in the world, it was just a matter of time until the genre got involved. Content creator/social media influencer horror has quickly become the rising subgenre in horror in the past few years. It really seemed to have really kicked off in 2018 with Cam. 2021 would bring us festival favorites We’re All Going to the World’s Fair and Followers; subsequently, 2022 brought Deadstream and Influencer. And that’s to name a few of the heavy hitters. This subgenre wouldn’t escape the short festival circuit either with Nathan Crooker’s multi-award winning short film #NOFILTER, and even the short film, that today’s film is based on, Chad Gers the Axe.

Chad and Jennifer look at each other with concern when one of their friends disappears
Image courtesy of The Horror Collective

Up to this point, this subgenre has pretty much surrounded two different types of characters: someone trying to find their place in the world of content creation or parodical exaggerations of creators like the Paul brothers or ImJayStation. #ChadGetsTheAxe falls into the exaggerated content creator storyline, but does it in a way that makes Deadstream look cheap. While I still stand by the praise I have previously given to Deadstream part of me feels like Deadstream wouldn’t exist in the capacity it does without the short film Chad Gets the Axe. This is not a proclamation that Deadstream is a ripoff of Chad Gets the Axe or #ChadGetsTheAxe by proxy, but after watching #ChadGetsTheAxe, and rewatching the short, there are too many similarities. Granted they are both films about livestreamers so some similarities are expected, there are just a few things that seem a little too coincidental, from the short film, that are utilized in Deadstream.

#ChadGetsTheAxe follows four streamers, Chad (Spencer Harrison Levin), Steve (Michael Bonini), Jennifer (Taneisha Figueroa), and Spencer (Cameron Vitosh), who decide to take a trip out to Devil’s Manor, previously home to a satanic cult, to live stream what happens throughout the night. What starts as a JayStation-esque stream quickly turns deadly when they find out they’re in more than they bargained for. Constantly egged on by the live chat, Chad finds himself in the sights of a deadly presence…and its axe.

There are feet poking out below a bathroom stall
#ChadGetsTheAxe, Official Trailer, YouTube, 00:48

When it comes to characters like Chad and Steve you really have to find that balance between being as annoying and childish as someone like ImJayStation is while not turning the audience off immediately. Writers Travis Bible and Kemerton Hargrove crafted four excellent characters, utilizing Jennifer and Spencer more as the straight characters, which helps ground the audience from the over-the-top Chad and Steve. Chad and Steve act like the no-consequences-for-me characters that haunted the YouTube algorithm for the better part of half of the 2010s, but there’s something different about them. Even if they think the world revolves around them we get multiple instances of them being humbled, in a way, and realizing the follies of their ways and maybe even becoming better people from it. To see characters like this, in a film like this, actually have a character arc and not just act as vessels for the audience to root for their deaths is impressive. And props to Bible and Hargrove for not taking the easy way out at the end. There’s a specific way I thought the film was going to end and my initial thought was it would be cheesy. Thankfully they decided to give us absolutes rather than questions.

A script can only be as good as its actors, and oh wow did the main cast come to have fun. Cameron Vitosh and Taneisha Figueroa bring a fun level of energy to the film that, as stated, helps ground the audience between the antics of Chad and Steve. They’re both incredible actors and really nail their respective roles. Michael Bonini brings a level of trepidation to Steve, it feels like Bonini did some great character work and really found the depths of his character. Spencer Harrison Levin ultimately steals the show. Levin’s natural charisma only grew since playing the titular character in the short film. The three years between the short and the feature chronicles Levin’s growth as an actor, and it’s really impressive to see. It’s unclear if he’d spent that time knowing the feature would get made, but you can really tell he put a lot of time into rounding out the character of Chad.

Director Travis Bible and cinematographer Rob Senska do an excellent job of capturing the hectic live stream. Instead of relying on mounted GoPros around the house or cameras set up, the four streamers capture the entirety of the night’s events on their phones. Thankfully there isn’t an obscene amount of shaky cam or false jump scares. It’s easy to rely on shaky cam and false scares in found footage films, so to find ways around that shows just how much Bible and Senska care about making a truly unique genre film. When Bible wants to scare you he shows you what he thinks will scare you, rather than faking you out multiple times before finally giving you the money shot. The amount of atmosphere and tension that is built throughout the incredibly lean hour and 23-minute run time makes the film absolutely worth it.

A clip from Chad's live stream, one of the viewers types "hope they all die"
#ChadGetsTheAxe, Official Trailer, YouTube, 01:11

#ChadGetsTheAxe is an incredibly fun and frightening take on content creator horror. Was it ripped off by another film? Maybe. Will it be ripped off by another film in the future? Without a doubt. This film is so unique and fresh in its telling of the story that it is eventually bound to have imitators. I don’t think anyone will be able to tell this story as well and entertaining as Travis Bible. If you want to check the film out for yourself, and you should, you’re now able to stream it through major on-demand and digital platforms starting today. Also, you can check out the trailer here.

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Written by Brendan Jesus

I am an award-winning horror screenwriter, rotting away in New Jersey.

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