Directed by: William Bagley
Distributed by: TBA
Written by Anna Harrison
There is something immensely satisfying about the stupidity of “The Murder Podcast”—satisfying less because it’s good, and more because it know it’s not, but there’s no shame in that when played correctly. Even its protagonist’s name, Chad Thadwick, lends itself to absurdity, as director/writer William Bagley (and actor Andrew McDermott) knows full well. Chad Thadwick is an aspiring podcaster, and if those words aren’t enough to send chills down your spine, then his chosen subject—the criticism of instant ramen noodles—should, and lest that too fail to alarm you, there’s also the fact that he lives in his sister’s (Logan Mariner) basement and gets alternatingly drunk and high each night with his buddy Eddie (Cooper Bucha) surely must.
But despite this bountiful and interesting personal life, Chad Thadwick is stuck in a rut. His ramen podcast with Eddie isn’t doing well, his sister is thinking of kicking him out, and he’s still grappling with the loss of his dad from years ago. Enter a murderer into Chad’s small town, and suddenly a wave of inspiration hits our hero: he’ll create a murder podcast. Those are popular, right? Only none of the bereaved take kindly to Chad’s obnoxious line of questioning, and one Officer Stacheburn (Levi Burdick) grows mighty frustrated with Chad’s attempts to derail his investigation, no matter how fishy the circumstances.
Our plucky protagonist, however, is not deterred, and so despite the ever-increasing creepiness of the situation, he and Eddie plow on as the horror elements of “The Murder Podcast” creep in. These elements only creep, however—“The Murder Podcast” is not quite scary enough to be a horror movie, nor is it funny enough to be a comedy. It’s not not scary, but it’s never enough to really make your skin crawl, and it’s not not funny, but it’s never enough to make you do anything other than grin a bit or breathe harder than usual out of your nostrils, though both Bucha and McDermott turn in solid comedic performances (and even manage to be a bit heartwarming through the bong haze, as the real story here isn’t whatever specter haunts their small town but whether Chad and Eddie can remain friends through it all).
While “The Murder Podcast” isn’t as interesting as it should be, its lack of sophistication gives it a zany charm, and its self-awareness lets me forgive some of the missteps (plus, the music is fun). There’s just an overabundance of these meta horror comedies nowadays, just as there’s an overabundance of podcast bros recording from a family member’s basement, and so you’re gonna need that special something to get you noticed. “The Murder Podcast” teeters on the cusp of that something, and though it never quite gets there, you can’t help but wish it could.
“The Murder Podcast” Trailer
“The Murder Podcast” played as part of the 2022 Atlanta Film Festival.