Since the internet became so ubiquitous, people have always asked the question: how do you replicate the realness of a movie like The Blair Witch Project when anyone can easily find info online? The YouTube channel I Am Sophie solves that problem.
While the entire series is available on YouTube, iHorror got a chance to catch it edited together as one film at this year’s Unnamed Footage Festival. Even though it wasn’t presented in the best way to experience it, as it really should be stumbled upon, it still proved to be one of the most unnerving, goosebump-inducing films that played at the fest.
I Am Sophie’s YouTube channel started around a year ago and posted a trailer for the show, titled “the NEW QUEEN OF YOUTUBE” that seemed to be about a young, rich, white girl living a luxurious life in a mansion with a private jet, expensive cars and rich, attractive model friends showing off her daily life. While presented as extremely vapid and like some other millennial “influencers” on YouTube and Instagram, the trailer voiceover has our privileged Sophie asking questions like is she really happy, and is she being real.
Those questions are repeated throughout the series and plant the first seeds that everything is not as it seems.
The first few episodes continue to seem like a normal rich girl going about her life. It isn’t until a few episodes in that it becomes more sinister. The videos start glitching and a mysterious girl and room appear for only a few seconds in some of the videos, leading Sophie in the subsequent videos to wonder how her videos are being altered after they’re uploaded to YouTube.
Without giving away too much, after this the spookiness really begins, and everything we’ve seen so far is challenged. Like Sophie says, “is it really real.”
These videos are extremely lifelike and if one were to stumble upon them on YouTube they could very easily be tricked into believing them. In fact, many people did believe it was real at first. One established Youtuber, Leon Lush, even created a video reacting to the YouTube series which sparked a reaction from the I Am Sophie account.
As it turns out, the I Am Sophie videos are an Alternate Reality Game (ARG). An ARG is an intensive fourth-wall-breaking game that includes its audience and requires its players to participate in hidden objectives that move the storyline along. Think of it as a digital escape room that you don’t know you’re doing.
This was utilized through the channel’s Twitter and Instagram accounts, where they posted a cryptic audio message with no context that fans of the channel figured out contained hidden messages after altering it.
finally back in london and back to reality… but first, drinks with the girls to keep up the beachy vibes 🏝
.#cocktails #drinks #yum #out #girls #restful #vibes #fresh #beachy #cute #londonlife… https://t.co/QOxuvVi1WQ
— Sophie (@iamsophiereal) February 10, 2020
Since a lot of it is shrouded in secrecy and also unexpectedly had to be produced during COVID-19, it is not even clear if the game/series is over (although seeing that it played at a film festival seems to indicate that it might be done).
This incredibly dark satire of YouTube culture will definitely satisfy horror fans of incredibly unsettling online stories that try to seem “real.” Similar examples of that are many creepypastas like the Marble Hornets/Slenderman YouTube channel and some of the darker Adult Swim Infomercials such as Too Many Cooks or Unedited Footage of a Bear.
While the overall story and progression of the series is mysterious and terrifying, the ending might not satisfy those looking for a clean, impactful end that answers the questions posed. If anything, it just leads to more questions, but that doesn’t mean the series isn’t worth it.
One of the better aspects of this series, especially compared to other faux documentaries or found footage films is that it has excellent cinematography, explained simply by Sophie as because she has a filmmaker friend helping her, which is believable considering her lifestyle.
While Sophie will definitely get on some people’s nerves at first as a pampered, selfish rich girl, the progression of the entire series will easily make up for it.
Those who do decide to give I Am Sophie a view should definitely also explore her Twitter and Instagrams along with the videos to get the full picture of the story, and who knows, maybe this is just the beginning of the terrors of I Am Sophie.
Check out this horrifying YouTube series if you’re ready to get involved in a conspiratorial, mindf*ck show that will make you question: am I real?
You can check out the full channel by CLICKING HERE.