Webseries Discovery: The Late Nell Avery
Cassie is your typical, awkward college girl living in the dorms. Except she’s convinced that she’s being haunted. From the fairy lights above her bed that flicker every night at exactly the same time to the figurines on her desk which move slightly every night, Cassie is sure she’s being haunted.
And she’s right.Whenever Cassie goes to sleep, we see the ghost of the late Nell Avery, a girl who was rumored to have died in her dorm room. Unfortunately, Nell doesn’t know much about being a ghost, and she isn’t even sure if she and Nell Avery are the same person.
What she does know is that she’s not ready to make contact with the overly eager-to-connect Cassie, who attempts to contact her nightly.
Here’s the first episode; new episodes air every Thursday after the hiatus on Youtube starting in September 2015:
This is a transmedia series which consists primarily of direct-to-camera vlogs from Cassie and Nell’s point of view, all of which are set in Cassie’s dorm room. The characters have their own twitter and tumblr accounts, but I don’t find that the transmedia content on those sites is particularly relevant to the main story told on Youtube.
The vlogs divide between Cassie’s daytime plots to interact with the ghost and Nell’s nighttime appearances while Cassie’s asleep.
Strengths / Weaknesses
Nell Avery has an intriguing plot and some of the production value to execute their vision of the story they’re trying to tell.
The series is watchable based on the premise alone – the audio and the visuals are solid. Nell’s ‘ghostification’ transparency effect is well done.Unfortunately, the writing and the acting is a little painful at times – the actor who plays Cassie especially seems self-conscious in front of the camera. To some extent, that’s a reflection of the character she’s playing, but it’s a little too reminiscent of new-to-Youtube vloggers who are extremely difficult to watch before they hit their stride.
The actors’ timing is a little off, giving the series an awkward vibe which I hoped would improve as the series progressed; unfortunately even in episode 15 the main daytime lead didn’t improve. The actress who plays Nell, however, is extremely likable and magnetic to watch, even if her dialogue seems a little wooden and she falls prey to the same overacting that Cassie’s actress does, though not to the same degree.
Also, there isn’t a lot of action in the series – other vlogs have managed to set an entire series in the same room without losing the audience’s interest or sense of immediacy and action, but the pacing for Nell Avery feels a little slow and the one-room format contributes to the sluggishness.
I hope the writing and the acting become a bit more natural, and I hope this series hits its stride after the hiatus, but it’s a pleasant watch in the meantime to satisfy an original vlog webseries void.
Produced by Somneerly Films