Award-winning director Michael Beets premiered his live horror film experience on 4th June, In the Shadow it Waits, using the tech at most of our fingertips right now. With a Blair Witch feel using lockdown as the premise in Australia, the film is performed live and edited in real-time with actors performing from their own homes in different states across Australia. Uniquely, the audience is witnessing a film being made as they’re watching it. However, this does come with some drawbacks.
The film tells the story of four twenty-something co-workers bored with their day jobs and sick of being locked up in isolation, who play a silly online game and unwittingly prove the truth of an urban legend. And while these co-workers might not be able to get out, it doesn’t mean that something can’t get in. Would you dare to play? The Billy Game is what they refer to it as.
Creator and Director Michael Beets was interested to explore the limitations that Covid 19 has presented, and create something with these boundaries in place. That he certainly has but as with limitations they can affect the quality of the work. Performed live and edited in real time was interesting but it depends on everyone’s tech being up to speed. There were numerous times where I didn’t actually catch the dialogue for some of the characters, as either the volume on their laptops or phones was too quiet.
However, the concept was interesting with much conviction from the actors. They just needed all tech checked or some volume level test pre-live. Unconventionally, neither the actors nor the director have met each other in real life. And with each performance being an altogether new film, it’s also a challenge for actors Vessela Karadjova, Eddie Orton, Robert Pham, Naomi Plucke, Nalani Wakita and SC Wilson, who are all performing in different states in Australia.
The synopsis is a little cliched using the times we are living in to create a horror, yet I suppose this is the first of these I have come across. It was just a real shame that the sound was often so poor I wouldn’t catch some of the dialogue, and the performance was so dependent on it, everything being in real time. However, this has put Michael Beets name on the radar for me, as personally I am always intrigued by those that work with limitations and challenges.