Watch the dangers of an online cult in the short film ‘Spotted’
While the internet is a strong tool to help us stay connected to the rest of the world, we often forget the classic rule our parents told us as kids: don’t talk to strangers. The experimental short film Spotted looks closely at the dangers of ignoring our parents in the internet age, leaving us with a terrifying horror short to enjoy.
Directed by Shranjay Arora, Spotted follows a social media influencer who’s let fame get to his head. Looking to mix up his daily routine, he takes a trip to what he thinks is an abandoned cabin in the woods. But following closely behind him is the cult of fans he’s created through his online content.
Fandom vs. cults
There’s been a long-standing argument of whether or not extreme fans should be considered cults or not. While casual fans of a person, entertainment property, or event have existed for years, the internet has helped give birth to rabid fans. With the internet at their fingertips, they feel like they know the person better than the fan knows themselves.
Spotted really takes this argument to another level, by actually having a cult following our influencer. When our main character goes on a trip to the woods, he finds out how much his fans follow him. As he learns of the cult he’s unintentionally created through his online content, the cult is ready to lay down their life and follow their leader wherever he goes.
Experimental is Shranjay’s name
Since he started working in the entertainment industry, Shranjay Arora has always been trying to experiment with his filmmaking style. Spotted is his first time directing, writing, and editing a short film, but it’s not the first one he’s shot. During previous projects he’s worked on, Arora tries to use the camera as a storytelling tool, creating an experimental experience for the audience. Spotted was co-written and produced alongside Seda Anbarci. Initally just a co-writer, Anbarci joined the project as a producer to help Arora focus more on his artistic vision and achieve his full potential as director.
Along with his filmmaking career, Arora also helped bring gaming online and YouTube to India through his YouTube channel CowboyFarts. As one of the first India-based gaming YouTube channels, Arora helped break the taboo about professional gaming in India and made it more realistic for other streamers & gamers.
Arora’s YouTube channel grew, and on the side, Arora was professionally editing for other companies along with his own content. He knew though that YouTube was far from the end of his passion, and set his sites on LA to further educate himself as a filmmaker.
Building his brand past gaming
After moving to America, Arora began attending the New York Film Academy, Los Angeles to help him become a better filmmaker and develop his craft further. There, he met his co-writer Anbarci, who quickly became his filmmaking “partner-in-crime”. While Spotted is Arora’s first solo short film, it’s already netted him many awards and praise from the filmmaking community.
While Arora doesn’t see himself giving up gaming on YouTube anytime soon, he wants to continue to experiment with his filmmaking style, making more unique and experimental short films.