Private Project

Low Life

Benny, a small time YouTuber who catches predators online, experiences a night from hell when he lures a predator into his own home.

  • Tyler Michael James
  • Hunter Milano
  • Noah Rotter
  • Lucas Neff
    Key Cast
  • Wes Dunlap
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Crime, thriller, crime thriller, Satire, dark comedy, psychological thriller
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 46 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 21, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    325,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • Tiffany Boyle
    Sales Agent
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Tyler Michael James

27-year-old filmmaker Tyler Michael James makes his directorial debut with Low Life, drawing on his own life experiences to texture the film with grunge and chaotic energy.

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, James developed his craft working on YouTube channels, shooting music videos, and producing short form narratives, eventually making the jump to Los Angeles to take his passion for film to the next level. James has worked on over 40 visual effects projects for film and television, including projects for Netflix, Paramount, and Amazon Studios. James lists his influences as Barry Jenkins, David Fincher, and Josh & Benny Safdie.

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Director Statement

Low Life latched itself to my brain in early 2020 when my co-filmmaker Hunter Milano first pitched the concept. Sitting on the kitchen floor of my LA apartment, he described these YouTubers that video themselves ambushing and harassing child predators they meet online. These videos were exhilarating, yet often horrifying, to watch. They were small digestible bursts of adrenaline and fear. It launched an obsession that would take me through some of the darkest corners of the internet, attempting to dissect the pain that I found myself identifying with at the center of these videos and their creators.

Low Life's antihero protagonist Benny is a byproduct of a failed patriarchal system. The pervasive "boys will be boys" attitude that allows men like Benny to thrive is simultaneously his handicap. Telling this story through Benny's eyes became a way to confront and digest the horror of a uniquely contemporary brand of toxic masculinity; one that is egocentric, performative, and destructive.

My passion for filmmaking developed out of a need to communicate with people around me. Developing obsessive compulsive personality disorder early in life, a condition characterized in part by an excessive need for control and limited emotional range, my inability to identify and articulate feelings was excruciating. It's this excruciating feeling that finds itself at the core of Low Life: the frustration of being powerless and the anxiety that comes with losing control.

For survivors of sexual violence, control was taken from us and our voices buried under secrets and shame. The excruciating feeling of being helpless, the fear, is a burden we were suddenly forced to carry.

Every choice made in this film was made to serve that experience; to give texture to that feeling that is undeniably present when carrying trauma. From the murky darkness of the cinematography to the frenetic pacing of the performances, Low Life is a film designed to encompass the feeling of living through a traumatic experience. It's a nonstop, erratic thrill ride that starts grim and only gets darker.

While child predators taking advantage of the vulnerable isn't a new facet of our culture, the weaponization of the Internet against minors and the role technology now plays in the predator-prey dynamic is. Low Life's nose-dive-off-a-cliff mentality aims to force audiences to confront this new reality and the ethical dilemmas we face because of it.

Directing this film and having the chance to put that textured feeling on screen has been the greatest opportunity of my life. Film as a medium is a naturally collaborative art form. By collaborating with so many passionate artists, I found myself constantly in awe and humbled by the intensity with which they embraced the project to give voice to their own experiences. Finally speaking the same emotional language as so many people has been true catharsis. I hope by going on this journey with Benny and Nicole, you're able to feel that experience and enjoy some catharsis of your own.