Director: Joe Strickland
If you haven’t heard of the online game Among Us, one would question where you had been for the past year or so. Released in 2018, this online game rose to popularity during 2020, undoubtedly helped by global stay-at-home orders, combined with its addictive and simplistic premise. The multiplayer game is played in groups of up to nine, who work together to find the murderous imposter among the rest of the ‘crewmates’, communicating via video chat.
This popular game explores the notion of collaboration and communication versus deception, and this serves as the backdrop for There’s Something Among Us by Joe Strickland. The digital show follows a group of 8 YouTubers who live together in one house, working together to create content for social media (much like the current day popular influencer collectives). They are live streaming and playing games of Among Us, communicating on screen ‘Zoom’ call style. The disappearance of an ex-housemate and former member of this group, Sam, is central to the plot.
The show includes elements of escape room style interactivity. For example, the viewer decides which of the cast members to focus on as the group plays their three games of Among Us. The cast is a young, diverse group who portray the well-known influencer stereotypes effectively; from Lulu, the party girl with a podcast and Sunny, the wellness guru, to BGFit the ‘fit-fluencer’ and Fifi, the beauty & lifestyle blogger.
The group’s issues revolve around the absent Sam, as they frequently allude to their fragmented relationships with him. However, the issues seem rather trivial which means the viewer struggles to engage deeply with their angst. Running at around 50 minutes, the show succeeds in creating intrigue and mystery surrounding the whereabouts of the missing Sam and the array of characters is energetic and engaging. Unfortunately, the plot does not fulfil its potential as it fails to really escalate. With the show’s tagline of ‘Hell is other people, even over Zoom’, expectations of a more chilling, conflict-filled storyline are high, and instead the viewer is left with an abrupt and lacklustre conclusion.
There’s Something Among Us is part of Chronic Insanity’s project of creating twelve new shows in twelve months during 2021.
Available here until 31 December 2021