This is one of the best stunts yet! Anatomy of a Viral Video: Carrie – Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise
The Carrie video is a bit of a departure from the usual viral video. Popular wisdom dictates to usually keeping surprises playful. With that in mind though, the promotional video is for a horror movie. The producers do take care to add levity to the video by getting viewers in on the prank, letting viewers see the special effects being set up in advance. As a humor device, this works quite well, making it closer to older, traditional practical joke videos from television.
Moreover, the story takes place in a coffee house similar to those found throughout the country, giving viewers a way to relate with the people in the video in a “that could be me” style format. The execution of the special effects themselves satisfy the viral video theme of the roller coaster excitement ride. Even with an advance understanding of what is going to roughly transpire, the producers leave just enough out to keep viewers guessing – such as the woman in the coffee house seeming to have a psychotic – and telekinetic – break. You have some idea of what might happen, but are forced to watch to see it unfold. That being said, the end is truly the surprise. Even during the video, it is hard to see what the end result, or the point, might be. That it turns out to be a horror movie ad is left cleverly til the very end.
The video does lack some viral elements. But surprise and suspense are around every corner – driven both by the speed of frame jumps to show the set up of the cafe and the intense music driving the story. It starts fast, as it should, from the very beginning, dubstep style audio meshed with live action excitement within the first 15 seconds.
While it doesn’t quite follow a traditional story telling narrative, it does in a mystery story sense. That style meshes well with the suspense and mystery of the peace as a whole. Even largely understanding what is to come, just enough is left out to still shock the viewer. As a testament to the style and, perhaps, the skill of the effects people involved, the video has had over 58 million views to date – making it a huge viral success by any standard.