Jeff Ryan (director)
London FrightFest 2022 (studio)
August 28, 2022 (published)
It’s a conclusion the viewer might draw from Mean Spirited which has a group of friends who go on a journey with another who left them for fame and fortune. Or rather Bryce (Jeff Ryan) left Andy (Will Madden), the latter producing from his own online show, with plenty of finery and a steady following. Although far from the influence of the Thunderman (Bryce’s alter ego). With this deep resentment eating away at him, he and his team go on the weekend with Bryce. Seemingly trying to mend a friendship that dates back to their childhood, it begins to go awry almost immediately as Andy begins to sting Bryce about leaving.
Back at Bryce’s lavish house, strange things happen with the rude Dew (Will Martin) sticking his nose where he shouldn’t, with consequences that extend far beyond the house as the group tramples an abandoned hotel and one of their members Tom (Daniel Rashid) mysteriously falls off a ledge into a waterfall. Later recorded evidence that there is more to it. As we reach the climax (in Tom’s case for the first time with his girlfriend Nikki (Michelle Veintimilla)), it becomes clear that there are sinister forces at work.
Strip away the tech and there’s little substance here (even allowing for one character’s harrowing childhood trauma that darkens the film) plot-wise or visually. The budget was low so there are few locations and the effects are flashing colored lights or the ones you can get with tik-tok and such.
The staging by Jeff Ryan (co-written with Joe Adams) is airy and the actors are very endearing. It’s the usual stereotypes with nerdy, gross and sexy all represented, some more likable than others, the main thing is that there’s an enthusiasm that drives them and the viewer throughout the film. Which is just as well that it starts to falter towards the end, even though it’s neatly wrapped.