October brings many things including Shriekfest, one of the top horror, thriller, and science fiction film festivals. This year one of the top competitors was “Chatter,” the creative work of writer/director/producer Matthew Solomon. It is a paranormal film with most of the interaction occurring via chat sessions. The concept for chatter originated when Mr. Solomon was collaborating with others via Skype.
The cast includes:
Brady Smith (“Criminal Minds”, “Parks and Recreation”, “Dinner at Tiffani’s”)
Sarena Khan (“Johnny’s Sweet Revenge”, “Cavemen”, “Naughty or Nice”)
Tohoru Masamune (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, “Inception”)
Richard Hatch (Acting legend from: “Battlestar Galactica” old and new series)
Alison Haislip (“Attack of the Show”, “Mega Shark vs Kolossus”, “Team Unicorn”)
Producing a film relying heavily on Skype and using a big name actors are great gimmicks for getting attention, but does it have substance beyond that? Also, can the small screens of Skype sessions carry over onto the big screen?
Those were big questions before going in to watch “Chatter.” As it turns out, the answer to these questions and more is a resounding yes!
The film starts with a tragic bang as Richard Hatch’s character, a paranormal investigator, unsuccessfully concludes his investigation of a haunted house in L.A. It then shifts gears to a later time when a musician has rented the place and is skyping his wife in England who plans to join him later. The couple soon become aware of a paranormal presence.
This is not your garden-variety ghost but rather a predatory poltergeist that has learned to truly surf the web. Adding another dimension of creepy, they are also being observed by a voyeuristic member of Homeland Security. All these elements float smoothly into place in the first 10 minutes.
Skype as a teleconferencing tool, gives the user the ability to communicate as though they were there. Instead of being simply a gimmick in the production of this movie, it actually enhances the production.
In the real world, Skype users have already long been suspending belief and embracing the concept that this lets them be with their loved ones even though they are across the world. So Skype becomes the tool by which the you are another silent observer of the couple’s chat interchanges.
Without a doubt, the horror fans of Shriekfest were attracted to the film by it’s interesting aspects as well as the actors. The acting was top notch, but it also has a great story line that had the viewers at Shriekfest on the edge of their seats.
So if you are a horror, paranormal, or Richard Hatch fan, this film is a must see. If you can see it on the big screen do it! Chatter is a great flick and well worth a 5 stars out of 5.
Oh, and any rumors to the effect that this writer screamed like a girl and made half the theater jump around him, well, those are just rumors.