Embracing an increasingly swipe-through screen culture, filmmakers Jen Ponton and Jody Lauren Miller have crafted an “immersive social media horror experience.” The film is called Caretaker.
Caretaker follows Ros, a carefree #vanlifer who hung up her hood ornament to become the caretaker of a shuttered bed and breakfast in (exceptionally haunted) Cape May, New Jersey. It’s an easy enough job. She just has to watch over the house… and the mysterious old woman who lives in the attic. What could go wrong?
With flavors of horror classics such as The Shining, House of the Devil and Burnt Offerings, Caretaker is an homage to the sentient house era of horror. Ponton and Miller last collaborated on the horror comedy Come on In, a short film that earned accolades from New York Women in Film and Television, Bluestocking Film Festival, and Coven Film Festival.
The two developed and wrote Caretaker together, with Miller serving as director and cinematographer, and Ponton starring as Ros.
The immersive world of Caretaker is spread between two TikTok accounts–one of which being the voyeuristic @caretakerfilm, and the other being the personal TikTok account of protagonist Ros, @capemaycaretaker. Where Ros’ personal TikToks tell a fractured, alarming story, @caretakerfilm fills in all the chilling details.
The intimacy of TikTok makes the micro #horrortok realm particularly effective. While jump scares lie around every corner with most one-offs–much to the chagrin of our shattered phone screens–Ponton and Miller lay the track with quiet, mounting dread.
For the fullest experience, users will have to gather breadcrumbs between the accounts to get the full scope of what exactly is happening to Ros in this eerie Victorian monolith.
Caretaker releases on TikTok and Instagram on March 1st, using accounts @capemaycaretaker and @caretakerfilm.