Loneliness and the desire to be loved are two things that most of us can identify with at one point or another in our lives. Directors Jared Bratt and Vincent Pun’s Streamer takes these themes and explores the darkness that can spawn from them. By his own account Jared (played by Bratt) is a 28-year-old who has lots to offer women. The problem is he is invisible to the opposite sex, or at least it feels that way. Depressed that his life has been reduced to working out and eating alone, the virginal Jared uploads a video online lamenting his current state. A decision he immediately regrets when his family gets wind of it and assumes, rightfully so, that it is a cry for help.

Unable to find satisfaction in the real world, Jared finds himself becoming increasingly attracted to an online cam girl (Tanya Lee, who gives a wonderfully understated and effective performance) he stumbles across while surfing adult sites. Attraction turns to obsession, and the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur, when Jared realizes that his online dream girl actually lives in his building.

Expanding on Bratt’s short film of the same name, which also played The Blood in the Snow festival in 2013, Streamer is a rather surprising psychological drama. Though the film maintains a certain unsettling tone throughout, the most startling aspect is the care Bratt and Pun take in building the friendship between the two central characters. Highlighting the tender bond they share, the film does a wonderful job of convincing the audience, like Jared has convinced himself, that the pair might actually be perfect for each other. Both are individuals who, despite being in a rut, are holding onto creative aspirations that they refuse to let go off. The false sense of security their bond implies, especially their day in the park, only adds further weight to the film’s chilling and blurring lure.

Although it is often difficult for filmmakers to convey the internal struggles of their protagonist in a believable way, Bratt and Pun’s film succeeds in large part thanks to its use of colour. Initially using deep reds to establish the sinful fantasy side of Jared’s mind, and black and white to offer a gentler side of reality, the directors’ frequent manipulation of the colour palette keeps the viewer off guard. Similar to Jared, it soon becomes more difficult to tell where the lines between fact and fiction are.

Effectively disturbing, without relying on an ounce of gore, Streamer is a film that festers in one’s mind. It announces Jared Bratt and Vincent Pun as filmmakers to keep an eye on moving forward.

Saturday, November 26, 12:00 AM, Cineplex Cinemas (Yonge and Dundas)

Tickets can be purchased at The Blood in the Snow website.