×

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.

More Film

  • Jim Gianopulos

    Paramount Chief Jim Gianopulos Unveils Diversity Initiative

    Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos has announced that all studio productions will be required to complete a plan to enhance diversity. Wednesday’s reveal follows Paramount’s commitment to participating in Time’s Up and Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s 4% Challenge. The name is derived from women having directed only 4% of the country’s top grossing movies [...]

  • Leave No Trace

    Oscar Analysts Are Sincere -- but Often Totally Wrong

    With Oscars arriving Feb. 24, we can expect multiple “who will win/who should win” columns. There will also be a flurry of post-show analyses about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and why members voted the way they did. Since AMPAS never releases polls or voting tallies, these pundits will never be contradicted [...]

  • On Eve of Oscars, Variety’s Film Experts Answer Three Pressing Questions

    On Eve of Oscars, Variety’s Film Experts Answer Three Pressing Questions

    We continue to live in a divided world, with the current political landscape in the United States a seemingly endless hotbed of tumult and acrimony. Issues of racism, bigotry, diversity and gender equality drive the creative players as well, with Oscar-nominated films parlaying said themes into compelling, thought-provoking cinema. To analyze 2018 in big-screen entertainment, [...]

  • Karl Lagerfeld'Lagerfeld Confidential' Photocall at the

    Karl Lagerfeld Remembered at Costume Designers Guild Awards

    The death of fashion and costume designer Karl Lagerfeld cast somewhat of a shadow over the usually jubilant Costume Designers Guild Awards — the only award show where clothes literally steal the spotlight away from actors — which was held at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday night. Here it was obvious that Lagerfeld’s impact on [...]

  • 'Captain Marvel' First Reactions: Early Reviews

    'Captain Marvel' First Reactions: 'The MCU Feels More Complete'

    “Captain Marvel” is soaring following advanced press screenings on Tuesday. Reactions from early showings have hit Twitter, and audiences are keen on Marvel’s first female-led standalone movie. Critics are praising Brie Larson’s performance as Carol Danvers, the nostalgic ’90s setting, and the cosmic sci-fi elements. Goose, Danvers’ cat, is also getting a lot of attention from [...]

  • Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Astrid (America

    Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Flying to $40 Million-Plus Debut

    Universal and DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” will soar to the top of the domestic box office when it debuts this weekend in over 4,000 North American theaters. The studio anticipates an opening around $40 million, which would fall just short of the debut of its predecessors, 2010’s “How to Train [...]

  • Times Up Inclusion Red Carpet Fashion

    Stars Like Lena Waithe, Rachel Brosnahan Support Issues Through Fashion

    On a Sunday morning in November 2017, Oscar-nominated costume designer and stylist Arianne Phillips pulled up to CAA for a meeting to which she’d been invited without receiving any other information. “Reese Witherspoon was there at that meeting, and I know her because we worked together on ‘Walk the Line,’” says Phillips, who’s also worked [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content