Scream with Pride: ‘Dear David,’ a queer horror worth watching


Out gay actor Augustus Prew stars in the queer horror film Dear David

Buckle up, horror enthusiasts! Prepare to be thrilled, chilled, and utterly captivated by Dear David. The film is not just your typical horror movie. It’s a game-changer for the queer community, bringing genuine LGBTQ+ representation to the horror genre.

A supernatural horror film with a lead character who’s not just gay but proudly so, Dear David aims to break barriers and deliver spine-tingling horror with a queer twist. This film is based on the haunting Twitter thread by openly gay comic artist Adam Ellis, known for his viral supernatural encounters. But Dear David doesn’t just stop at showcasing Adam’s chilling ghostly experiences; it delves into his personal relationships, adding depth to the narrative.

Modern horror films are making a bold shift towards authentic representation, with the goal of shattering harmful stereotypes. Dear David is the embodiment of this change, bringing queer characters to the forefront. In this era of cinema, there’s no room for token representation; instead, it’s all about authentic storytelling that respects and uplifts the queer community. And that means steering clear of the stereotypes and biases that have plagued the genre for far too long.

Directed by John McPhail, Dear David stars Augustus Prew as the remarkable Adam Ellis, with an ensemble cast that includes Andrea Bang, René Escobar Jr., Cameron Nicoll, and Justin Long. Produced as a co-venture between BuzzFeed Studios and Lionsgate Films, this supernatural horror film follows Adam Ellis’s harrowing ordeal as he confronts the vengeful spirit of a boy tormented by demons, all stemming from an online altercation.

For those unfamiliar with the spine-tingling story that inspired the film, Dear David was a Twitter thread created by Adam Ellis himself. He shared his eerie encounters with a ghost, captivating the online community. The story took shape between August 7 and December 12, 2017, and it quickly went viral. It wasn’t just about the ghostly experiences; it was a testament to the power of storytelling in the digital age.

In the film, the plot weaves between two timelines. In 1996, young David faced bullying over a crude drawing in an online chat, and he retaliated against his tormentors. In 2017, two teenagers made the grave mistake of trolling David in a late-night chat room, leading to dire consequences. Adam Ellis enters the narrative as a BuzzFeed employee with an unusual task: to create “authentic original content.”

As he confronts online trolls, David appears to him with eerie visions and cryptic messages. This haunting encounter sends him on a quest to understand the truth behind David’s malevolent presence. The story mirrors the real-life unease in Adam’s relationship, where his boyfriend longs to meet his parents, but Adam remains hesitant. This adds an extra layer of tension to the narrative.

Augustus Prew’s portrayal of Adam Ellis is nothing short of remarkable. As an openly gay actor in Hollywood, Prew is a rising star who brings authenticity to the character. Prew is a testament to the film industry’s changing landscape, where queer actors are given the spotlight they deserve.

The film’s release brings attention back to Adam Ellis’s Twitter thread, which made him an internet sensation in 2017. But who is Adam Ellis? Beyond his supernatural encounters, he’s a 37-year-old artist, illustrator, and blogger, who worked as an illustrator at BuzzFeed. He’s the creative force behind a book titled Books of Adam: The Blunder Years, published in 2013. Originally from Montana, Adam now resides in New York City, sharing his home with two cats, Maxwell and Pepper.

Adam’s journey from a BuzzFeed illustrator to a celebrated Twitter sensation is fascinating. While he’s known for his whimsical comics, it was the “Dear David” thread that thrust him into the online spotlight. His apartment haunting became a viral sensation, thanks to his knack for storytelling and visual artistry. But it doesn’t stop there. Adam Ellis’s openness extends beyond his supernatural experiences; he’s a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and has used his art to break stereotypes. Adam’s journey reflects his boldness and the power of sharing authentic stories.

Dear David is a testament to the changing landscape of modern cinema, where LGBTQ+ characters can lead the narrative with authenticity and depth.  It’s a reminder that these stories, no matter how eerie, deserve to be told authentically.

Get ready for the chills, thrills, and cinematic experience that’s set to redefine the horror genre, all while recognising the importance of diversity and representation. It’s a celebration of queer voices and the power of storytelling.

Dear David opened in cinemas in South Africa on the 3rd of November.

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