As social media ages past the 2000s when it began, it seems to be morphing into a farcical mess. There have been several films that have alluded to this situation, but no one quite revels in it the way director/co-writer Travis Bible and co-writer Kemerton Hargrove do with their satirical slasher flick, #ChadGetsTheAxe. A lunatic twist on the found footage genre, the film summons forth all the ridiculous, inane, scuzzy, and bawdy elements of social media influencers and their pandering methods of acquiring and retaining viewership. Yes, comments manifesting on the screen have happened before. But here, we see the full savagery and debauchery, to say nothing of the prurient perverseness that emanates from these anonymous internet creatures who get their jollies watching idiots hurt themselves for their viewing pleasure.
The film started life as a short in 2019, and it shows. The three years between the short and feature versions demonstrate the meticulous amount of time Bible and Hargrove had to delve into this scenario. The finished product, an 83-minute farce of found footage and slasher, is a demented trip into the mind space of people who stream the stupid stunts they pull for “views,” which translates to money for them.
In #ChadGetsTheAxe, the streaming video gone wrong involves Spicy Steve (Michael Bonini) dragging the titular Chad (Spencer Harrison Levin) and Spennifer – Spencer and Jennifer (Cameron Vitosh and Taneisha Figuera respectively) to a small town in Louisiana to investigate The Devil’s Manor. It is so-called because the estate was the location where a Satanic Cult committed many murders. Expecting the premises to be long abandoned, the streamers descend upon the Devil’s Manor and commit all manner of deranged acts in the musty, presumably empty mansion.
“…the streamers descend upon the Devil’s Manor and commit all manner of deranged acts in the musty, presumably empty mansion.”
From showing off Spencer’s abs to placing a hat on a corpse, there is nothing these tools won’t do for their ever-expanding reach to viewers on their stream. Reflexively, the viewers’ requests became more dangerous and demanding. The larger the pool of viewers becomes, the more outrageous the demands and the greater revulsion and vitriol the viewers experience. Then, the axe murders begin.
Whereas most such films would play the jump scare to maximize the terror, here, influencers and viewers become objects of mockery. As these tremendous dodos try to piece together the incredulous reveal that there exists a murderous spirit with an axe, the found footage quality of this film becomes more starkly apparent. Their streams end angled at the ceiling, floor, and other places an influencer would never want to show off. Sociologically, streamers are the new form of gladiatorial bloodsport. They will literally do anything for views.
#ChadGetsTheAxe, being a found footage film concerning streamers, is of the low quality expected on all social media networks. The shaky cam game is strong, and the footage is reminiscent of television video standards with zero grain. This adds credence to the notion that these four dimbulbs are about to receive the end they all so richly deserve. There’s nothing more annoying, gentle readers, than a damn streaming media influencer. I have taken great pains to keep them out of the Franz house. Bible and Hargrove demonstrate why.
Seek out #ChadGetsTheAxe if you want to dip your toe into the waters of slasher horror but don’t want a supremely scary one. The director has done a great service presenting a film where many comeuppances occur.
"…dip your toe into the waters of slasher horror..."