Review: “The 16th Episode”

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Three YouTubers, each with their own inner demons, visit the mythical town of Casablanca. With their viewership down, they get invited to attend a satanic ritual and soon realize that maybe all their audience wants is to see them die.
Written and directed by Jérôme Cohen-Olivar (The Midnight Orchestra, Kandisha), THE 16th EPISODE(previously known as LITTLE HORROR MOVIE) stars Cody Heuer (The Shoe), Rebecca Ramon (The Violet Blaze Chronicles) and Einar Kuusk (Chasing Ponies).
Our YouTube trio checks into an area Airbnb and immediately the creep factor kicks in. The sparse set has a legit feel, as someone who has lived abroad, I can attest to its authenticity. Fifty percent of the film is presented through one handheld camera the team uses as the threesome makes reference to found-footage films over and over. Unsurprising considering the instant viewer gratification that is YouTube and the disappointment they are feeling with their number of viewers falling. That being said, the other seemingly overarching theme is demonic possession. Mashing these two together seems like it would lead to a pretty phenomenal idea, something akin to the urgency and fright felt in Quarantine.
The lead actors, particularly the gentlemen of the film, really shine. Einar Kuusk as Einar is the voice of reason and propels the story forward. Cody Wayne Heuer as Mark is hilarious and entirely a joy to watch. All three actors are wonderful foils for one another. I’m not sure if the constant genre call outs are meant to be funny but they are relentless. There are genuinely surprising moments and a whole lot of convoluted ideas. This script feels splintered into three district ideas and acts. Act One is so strong but somehow gets detailed when during Act 2, a backstory for Helen comes out of left field. This intriguing tidbit fills the audience with many questions but ultimately ends up feeling like superfluous information. This could have been one way for the script to go but it never comes to fruition. That’s a movie I would have been completely immersed in. I’m not entirely sure what to take away from The 16th Episode other than a few solid concepts that strayed from their potential.

THE 16TH EPISODE will be in Theaters, on Demand and Digital on June 28, 2019.
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