×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

First Movie Filmed on Snapchat, ‘Sickhouse’ Starring Andrea Russett, Debuts on Vimeo

Sickhouse,” a horror movie starring digital celeb Andrea Russett based on 10-second video snippets posted to Snapchat, is now available for purchase — another test of whether social followers will become paying customers.

The 68-minute feature-length version of the movie, produced by Indigenous Media, launched Wednesday on Vimeo. The film is based on footage shot on iPhones over five days, from April 29-May 3, and unfolded as live 10-sec snaps sent out via Russett’s Snapchat account (@andwizzle), without any warning to fans that it was a scripted movie and not real life.

The story followed Russett and her friends — including her fictional cousin, Taylour (played by actress Laine Neil) — who decide to take a trip into the woods to explore the Sickhouse, a mysterious cabin outside of L.A. with a dark past once inhabited by a former Hollywood producer and his ailing wife. Russett (2.5 million YouTube subs) and actor Sean O’Donnell (1 million Instagram followers) starred in the project; the cast also includes actor Lukas Gage and popular YouTuber Jc Caylen. “Sickhouse” was written and directed by filmmaker Hannah Macpherson (with some improvisation by the actors). The location of the Sickhouse was a ranch out near Calabasas, Calif.

Russett conceded that she was initially worried about hoodwinking fans — some of whom were concerned enough for her safety that they were contemplating calling the police. “I had a big, big concern about that, but we went about it in a way that we weren’t completely trying to trick people. We wanted people to understand, it was a movie and that they were along for the ride,” said Russett, who is repped by WME and affiliated with Fullscreen.

She added, “You can only do something like that once, but it’s definitely worth exploring doing other movies on social platforms.”

The final Snapchat post for “Sickhouse” revealed that the sequence was all a movie project, which Russett further explained in a YouTube video May 4.

On Snapchat, the “Sickhouse” clips were viewed over 100 million times, but those vanished within 24 hours of their posting. Indigenous Media is hoping fans will fork over $5.99 on Vimeo to watch the “director’s cut” of the movie, which includes substantial additional footage that wasn’t posted on Snapchat.

Jake Avnet, Indigenous Media’s chief operating officer, said the concept of using Snapchat was to create an authentic and organic feel, as a way of stealth-marketing the movie. In order to make the storyline more believable, producers created an online mythology for Sickhouse, with a website and a Facebook page detailing the fake history of the house. At one point during the filming, several fans of Andrea’s created fake Twitter accounts for her cousin in the movie, Taylour, with one of the accounts, @SweetBaBayTay, garnering more than 4,000 followers in just a few days.

“We love the idea of creating premium content on new platforms,” Avnet said. “We think there are these great opportunities to tell these rich, quality stories natively on these platforms. What we want to do is figure out how to repackage them for other platforms. We’re not interested in making content that runs once and doesn’t appear anywhere else.”

Avnet declined to reveal the budget for “Sickhouse,” but said it was in line with an indie film. “This didn’t cost $100 million,” he said, noting that it was shot entirely on iPhones.

More Digital

  • Vaccination

    YouTube Yanks Ads From Anti-Vaccination Conspiracy Channels

    YouTube, under fire for facilitating the spread of conspiracy theories and other misinformation, said it will no longer serve ads on channels that espouse anti-vaccination rhetoric. The Google-owned video giant cited its advertising policy that bans “dangerous and harmful” content from eligibility in its monetization program. “We have strict policies that govern what videos we [...]

  • Evan Williams, Twitter founder (R) and

    Twitter Co-Founder Evan Williams Steps Down From Company’s Board

    Twitter co-founder Evan “Ev” Williams is stepping down from the company’s board, Twitter announced in a SEC filing Friday afternoon. Williams will depart from the board at the end of this month, according to the filing. “It’s been an incredible 13 years, and I’m proud of what Twitter has accomplished during my time with the [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Shuts Down Controversial Ovano VPN App

    Responding to a continued backlash over its data collection practices, Facebook pulled the plug on its Ovano VPN app Friday. Ovano, which promised users an added level of privacy while using public Wifi hotspots, was used by Facebook for market research purposes. Facebook removed the app from the Google Play store Friday, and the company [...]

  • Smosh

    Smosh Acquired by Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment

    UPDATED: Smosh, the long-running YouTube comedy brand, has been acquired by Mythical Entertainment, the company formed by Rhett & Link, hosts of comedy show “Good Mythical Morning.” As first reported by Variety last week, Mythical emerged as the leading candidate to buy Smosh, which was left stranded after parent company Defy Media shut down without [...]

  • China Video Streaming Giant iQIYI Loses

    Chinese Video Giant iQIYI Loses $1.3 Billion in 2018

    Chinese video streaming firm iQIYI lost over $1.3 billion in 2018, as revenues and subscriber numbers ballooned. The deepening losses reflected ever higher spending on original content production. Announcing its first full-year financials since a March IPO that launched it onto the NASDAQ, iQIYI said that it lost $1.3 billion (RMB9.1 billion) last compared with [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Aims to Top $1 Billion in Revenue in 2019, Beats Holiday Quarter Earnings Expectations

    Roku wants to become a billion-dollar company in 2019, and invest more in its ongoing international expansion. The streaming-device maker told investors on Thursday that it expects to generate between $1 billion and $1.025 billion this year, and that international growth was one of its key investment areas for 2019. Roku made these announcements as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content