DEAR DAVID is a new horror movie based on the viral Twitter thread by BuzzFeed comic artist Adam Ellis. That might sound like a weird premise if you’re not familiar with the story, but it’s actually perfect for a horror movie. Read our full Dear David horror movie review here!

DEAR DAVID is a new horror movie based on a Twitter thread that went viral and was featured in a BuzzFeed article. It’s a story of being haunted by a child ghost that you’ve somehow provoked by being an online bully. Admittedly, I was already familiar with this story, so it made perfect sense for me to see it adapted into a horror movie.

It’s off to an amazing start, but towards the end, something changes that did not work for me. Everything it had going for it – which was a lot – is thrown away for very generic jump scares. Including some CGI that really isn’t all that good. A damn shame as it was at a 3 star-rating and leaning towards a 4 out of 5, but ultimately ended up lower. You should check it out but don’t expect too much.

Continue reading our Dear David movie review below. Find it in theaters and On Demand from October 13, 2023.

Based on a real story

Whether you believe Adam Ellis or not, this movie is actually based on the real story of what he experienced. What happened was that comic artist Adam Ellis (Augustus Prew) made the grave mistake of responding to Internet trolls. He didn’t just respond to them, he wrote something very harsh which didn’t go over well with the Twitter account owner called Dear David.

Very soon, Adam is experiencing sleep paralysis. He is awake but unable to move as he watches an empty rocking chair moving in the corner of his apartment. Obviously, this is the kind of experience you can’t ignore. Especially as it’s only one of the strange things he feels has been happening.

Hiding under the covers, he shares the experience on Twitter. If nothing else, people will know what he’s been experiencing if things get worse. And in Dear David, things do get worse.

Adam believes he is being haunted by the ghost of a dead child. A child named David who somehow manages to have a Twitter account. All while there isn’t officially a Dear David Twitter account despite Adam communicating with it. The Twitter thread goes viral and Adam’s boss (Justin Long) at BuzzFeed encourages him to continue exploring to build on the success.

All too quickly, Adam starts to lose it. He can no longer figure out what’s real and what’s a nightmare. Is there even a difference anymore?!

Dear David (2023) – Review | Horror Movie

CreepyPasta and other online horror stories

We’ve seen similar adaptions of various CreepyPasta stories. Most famously is probably Slender Man which did not work well. Grimcutty did a similar thing, but that one did actually work better. On ScreamBox, you can even find a horror anthology titled CreepyPasta which also has several really strong segments.

For the first two acts, I was very impressed with how well this adaptation worked. And then that ended with the third act which just lost me.

It’s the curse of many of these CreepyPasta adaptions – as it is with all other horror movies. Maybe you’ll love the ending of Dear David, but as far as I’m concerned, they had a perfectly good horror movie and simply ruined it with the ending. For me, it changed the whole tone and went from being a character-driven horror story, based on a real-life experience, to just another generic horror movie.

Watch Dead David in theaters or On Demand

John McPhail (Anna and the Apocalypse) is the director with the screenplay by Evan Turner and Mike Van Waes. As already mentioned, the movie is based on the viral Twitter thread by BuzzFeed comic artist Adam Ellis. They’ve opted for taking this thread and article origin and including it very directly in the movie, which I appreciated. No need to change his name or the comic he’s known for.

He really should ignore the trolls though. That goes for everyone and anyone. Nothing good comes of arguing with Internet trolls.

You’re just feeding them what they want most, which is also an important point the movie is making. Complete with showing examples of how it can truly be just two teenagers having fun and letting go of (and forgetting) an interaction immediately, while it might fester deep in you. As Elsa says, just let it go!

If you’re familiar with the story from Twitter or BuzzFeed, then this release just in time for Friday the 13th (of October) and in time for Halloween makes it a perfect “new movie” of the year to check out.

Dear David is out in US theaters, On Demand and Digital from October 13, 2023.


Director: John McPhail
Screenplay: Mike Van Waes 
Story: Mike Van Waes & Evan Turner 
Cast: Augustus Prew, Andrea Bang, Rene Escobar Jr., Cameron Nicoll, Justin Long


Shortly after comic artist Adam (Augustus Prew) responds to Internet trolls, he begins experiencing sleep paralysis — while an empty rocking chair moves in the corner of his apartment. As he chronicles increasingly malevolent occurrences in a series of tweets, Adam begins to believe he is being haunted by the ghost of a dead child named David. Encouraged by his boss to continue the “Dear David” thread, Adam starts to lose his grip on what is online…and what is real.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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