Dear David (2023) online
Country: United States
Time: 1h 34m
Director: John McPhail
Dear David is a 2023 American supernatural horror film directed by John McPhail, based on Adam Ellis' Twitter thread of the same name. It stars Augustus Prew as Ellis with Andrea Bang, René Escobar Jr., Cameron Nicoll, and Justin Long in supporting roles. The film is the third co-production between BuzzFeed Studios and Lionsgate Films. It follows Ellis (Prew) who is haunted by the spirit of a boy at the mercy of demons after retaliating against trolls.
The film was released in theaters and to streaming and digital formats on October 13, 2023, by Lionsgate. It received mostly negative reviews from critics, criticizing its lack of originality and shock value.
In 1996, David gets bullied over a crude drawing on instant messaging, and retaliates against them.
In 2017, two teenagers enter the late David's chat room, trolling him. After asking a third question about their future cause of death, the teenager gets killed later that night.
At BuzzFeed, Adam heeds his boss Bryce's request to create "authentic original content". Adam retaliates against trolls— prompting a response from David calling him "mean", which Adam ignores. In the next morning, Adam's rocking chair moves on its own, later seeing David on it in a hallucination, continuing with a vision of David and his past life.
Evelyn encourages Adam to get sleep— he instead researches "Dear David" and paranormal activity. Adam encounters David in a dream and asks who he is, with David answering he's "just a follower". In the next night, Adam moves to a unit upstairs in the same apartment complex, however, his hallucinations persist.
In the next day, everyone at BuzzFeed celebrate the success of the Dear David thread. Bryce tells Adam to add multimedia, and after hesitating, makes the Dear David story interactive by adding a vote on what to do if David appears again— exorcism was chosen. Trolls continue to berate Adam; he claps back. On an early morning, Adam asks what David wants with him, later waking up with nosebleed after David whacks a typewriter on his face at night. While hunting for David, he encounters Kyle, who comforts him.
Adam recounts his situation to Kyle, who resents him for his unresponsiveness, eventually leaving him in disappointment. Adam later posts that David may want him dead. After initially ignoring the unknown caller, Adam answers— the caller has his voice. At night, he gets dragged to where David is shown disturbing photos. His father scolds him for this, after which David chokes him. Linda kills David.
A representation of David is drawn the next day, complete with half a missing head. Bryce proposes a worldwide expansion of Dear David, which Adam reluctantly agrees to. He calls Kyle to help track the owner of David's handle; he agrees despite privacy concerns.
A woman visits Adam recalling his experience with David, concluding that David may be connected to Adam. He visits Phyllis, who cites another connected case: that of "Loopy Linda". Adam watches her video, realizing her actions match what happened to David, who may be possessed.
Adam goes to the hospital where David was admitted, finding he is already dead. He secretly searches for David's file, discovering his body went missing. Adam goes inside Dr. Landers' home to find her, instead encountering Linda hanging by the stairs.
Adam dozes off, calling Kyle in a dream while cutting himself. Evelyn chides Adam for his responses (which he didn't send) and deserts him. Kyle tells Adam that David's handle doesn't exist, and to move on. A list sent by Norris makes Adam go livid, not realizing it said "be yourself" instead of "kill yourself". Bryce recommends a break for Adam, now seeing his reputation and credibility decline.
In a conversation with David, he accidentally asks a third question, beginning to lose control, instigating a fire; Adam sees a vision of people criticizing him.
As the complex burns, Evelyn and Kyle visit him in worry after Adam fails to answer their calls. After their reassuring remarks, Adam successfully kills David while escaping the complex with them. They apologize for dismissing Adam's claims of being haunted, and Adam, in return, promises to be more open.
Meanwhile, Chloe, one of the trolls, gets possessed and continuously smashes her head on the table.
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