Swipe or Die
Maine Arkwright (17) is obsessed with becoming the next viral sensation, the problem is, she has no self-confidence and even less self-esteem. When she is anonymously gifted a rare filter, is desperate to show it off. But when her followers use the filter, a ghoulish woman appears and tears out their soul. Maine tries to destroy the filter, but if she doesn’t find a new victim every 12 hours, then the woman will murder her! Now Maine must fight the woman and find out why she was cursed, but her fame-hungry friends have other plans for the filter.
Dead Filter is a ghost story for the tiktok generation, it combines modern themes of anxiety, social media addiction and cyber-bullying with the classic motifs of betrayal, teen-love and shock horror. One location (a suburban house), excellent character roles, small cast, low budget, a memorable monster, and obvious sequel potential.
Our Hero, a determined, unappreciated teenage vlogger, desperate to be liked by strangers on the internet. Maine is held back by the very fact she tries so hard. Full of envy for her popular classmates, she is glad to have the curse at first, but soon realizes what a horrible mistake she has made.
We sympathise with Maine’s need for attention and the desperate loneliness that accompanies being a teenager in the digital age. Over the course of the film, she gains learns to be her own person and face up to her flaws. Emotionally naïve, socially anxious and a terrible overthinker, she is the perfect victim for the curse.
She is relatable to teenagers who’ve grown up being force-fed idealised Instagram lives.
She compels us by her proactivity, her loyalty to her true friends, her determination to fix her mistakes and take responsibility for what she’s unleashed on the world.
Chloe is an alt-right, deep web, troll, with an incredibly toxic sense of humour. She’s the poster-child for what can happen if someone falls down the wrong side of the internet. But she’s compelling for her quick wit, no-bullshit attitude and ferocity in protecting Maine, her best-friend.
When she finds out about the curse, Chloe wants to use it to get karmic justice against the influencers. Her codependency issues with Maine put pressure on the group as they fight The Gaze and her distrust of the other friends lead to rifts. For a girl who hates drama, she’s certainly involved in a lot of it.
Lucas is a Zen, sober, eighteen year old, who seems wise beyond his years, but only because of his rough upbringing. His girlfriend is The Gaze’s first victim, but he keeps this hidden from the group as he tries to discover the secrets of the curse.
Lucas is compelling as an outsider, his intrusion into the group creates friction, especially his romantic dynamic with Maine. He’s lovable and level-headed but not someone to be crossed.
Maine’s older brother, formerly a high-school jock, who has gone to a liberal college and sworn of all technology. He prefers to spend his time exploring the vast world of psychedelics, determined that the only world left to map is the inside of our own minds.
Del is a source of comic relief at times, pondering philosophical questions, non-sensical rants and possibly the answers that will unlock the mystery of the gaze. He’s the Gen Z version of the horror stoner: sharper, more intellectual and more post-modern.
Kori is Del’s girlfriend and a teenage influencer, with millions of Tiktok followers. Forced daily to upload videos to maintain the popularity she has come to crave, she feels her personality splitting in two between her digital image and her actual self.
She is forced to pay some of the harshest tolls during The Gaze’s attacks, as she is the one who craves attention the most. She struggles to integrate her online thot-personality with the down-to-earth, socially conscious girl she really is to survive, she needs to learnt to let go of her fame, but is that a life worth living?
Whenever the cursed filter is opened, a woman appears behind the user. When the camera is not on her, she teleports closer to her prey, when she touches them, they die.
The Gaze is a source of jump scares, spectral tension and general anxiety. At times she seems like an ever-present figure, ready to strike at any moment. Her face is grotesque, like a grenade has exploded in someone’s mouth. As the film progresses, we find out exactly how The Gaze is connected to Maine and why she was cursed in the first place.