Creepy “found footage” is still a thing that can engage and scare film fans, it seems, as the Amazon Video Direct Stars program has taken notice of “The Break-In” as its top title in June based on customer engagement.
The film by Justin Doescher, uploaded to Amazon’s new self-service program for video storytellers, was shot completely on a mobile phone and borrows its jerky, realistic look from such classics in the horror genre as “The Blair Witch Project” and the “Paranormal Activity” series.
Here’s the film’s description on Amazon Prime, where it can be streamed by members of the service:
Jeff Anderson and Melissa Joseph are engaged, have a baby on the way, and live in a townhouse next to their best friends, Steve and Lisa. They have been living the perfect life, until a string of robberies take place in their neighborhood. Each night Jeff and Melissa notice strange occurrences happening to and around their home, and they fear that they’ll be next on the list.
The trailer adds a bit of suspense with it’s screechy sound effects and quick cuts of the couple in their home, a hand holding a knife in the dark, a masked intruder-type guy outside a window and so on.
“This has been an absolute game changer for independent filmmakers,” Doescher says about AVD in a video testimonial. “Trying to get through the film festival circuit and find distribution in the past has just been nearly impossible, especially with a film that has no big names attached to it.”
Doescher filmed his message three weeks after uploading his film and says the amount of people who have viewed “The Break-In” has been “astronomical” compared to what he was getting in views elsewhere.
AVD launched in May and “The Break-In” is the first winner in the Stars program, which gives video creators a share of $1 million per month based on customer engagement with their title.
Here’s how the program works, according to Amazon: “Amazon will distribute to creators a monthly bonus from the $1 million monthly fund, based on the Top 100 AVD titles in Prime Video, in addition to any other revenue earned. Video creators and providers who use AVD to make their titles available in Prime Video will automatically be enrolled.”