×

Eli Roth on Snapchat Mystery: A Lot of People Have Guessed the Murderer

Producing a murder mystery for Snapchat last weekend reminded Eli Roth of his early days as an aspiring filmmaker.

“I felt like I was in seventh grade and I was shooting something in my parents’ basement,” the “Hostel” director told Variety.

The project emerged from Roth’s digital network CryptTV, and aired live Sunday. The new media spin on “Clue” found social media influencers like Logan Paul, Nick Bateman, Simone Shepherd and others trying to survive a party at a creepy mansion. It has already drawn more than 750,000 total opens on Snapchat with more people continuing to watch as the day progresses. The success has prompted Roth to promise future projects on the video messaging service. Other social media stars have reached out to the director, asking to be involved in similar events.

“We can’t repeat the murder mystery genre, but we want to do something else that’s dark and edgy in the space,” said Roth.

The actors and Roth donated their time to cook up the project, improvising much of their dialogue and offering their own creative input. The results weren’t always polished, but Roth argues that looseness was the point.

“Part of the fun is the rawness of it,” said Roth. “Everybody came to have a good time. There’s always so much emphasis on how much you got paid and how much money did you make that it was refreshing. We do this because we love telling stories.”

Dark and edgy is what CryptTV specializes in. Short form video is dominated by comic performers, but Roth’s company offers up things like “Drug Deals,” a series of sketches about narco pacts gone wrong, and “One Minute Horror,” a forum for scary shorts that are less than 60 seconds long.

In the case of its latest effort, the murderer will be revealed at 7 p.m. PST on Monday, at which point the fruits of Roth and his team’s labor will begin to evaporate. Unlike Facebook, Twitter or other forms of digital communication, Snapchat has an expiration date. The messages do not exist in perpetuity. Roth doesn’t mind that everything he labored over will soon vanish.

“Everything is so permanent now,” he said. “Why is Coachella cool? You can watch it on television, but it’s not the same. You want to be there to have that experience….You do have this 24 hour window to see the film, and if you miss it, too bad. This experience is happening and by tomorrow it’s gone.”

Roth particularly enjoyed the interactivity he witnessed, as viewers followed the broadcast and shared their hunches about who was killing off the stars of Facebook, Vine, and Twitter. He was impressed by the sluething.

“A lot of people have guessed correctly,” he said.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

  • Vitalina Varela

    Locarno Film Review: 'Vitalina Varela'

    Frequently beautiful compositions and the theatrical use of a fierce kind of artifice have long been the hallmarks of Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, regarded by a small but influential group of aesthetes as one of the great filmmakers of our era. For those in tune with his vision, the director’s films offer an exciting lesson [...]

  • Notre dame

    Locarno Film Review: 'Notre dame'

    Not to be too cynical about it, but might the recent horrific fire in Paris’ cathedral attract audiences to a film in which the gothic gem plays a major role? It’s likely a wiser marketing strategy than promoting the unrelenting silliness of Valerie Donzelli’s oh-so-kooky comedy “Notre dame,” the writer-director-star’s return to contemporary Paris following [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content