Coffee Shop Carrie: Do Viral Videos Ever Go Too Far?

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What do you think of this movie promotion for the remake of Stephen King's Carrie?  The movie focuses on a young woman with telekinetic powers. In order to harness the holy grail of viral publicity, the promoters made a stunt video. Of course they did, because ever-escalating stunts are super clicky on YouTube and in the "you've got to see this" sharing world or Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.  And they are scoring, big time.

Carrie viral video stunts.
Image: Screenshot for the viral video promotion for the remake of Carrie

For their stunt, they rigged a coffee shop to enable an actress to throw a stuntman up a wall, to move furniture and to have books fly off shelves. When customers are nearby, the actors run through a scene where a man spills coffee and receives the full force of Coffee Shop Carrie's telekinetic rage, complete with deafening shrieks from unholy places.

The expected reactions roll out. Confusion.  Fear. Panic. Stereotypical shade. Gawking, and then second thoughts. Stubborn attempts to wait for one's scone. You know how it is when walls move and you just want your pumpkin spice latte? All of that. 

If this really happened to unsuspecting members of the public, it's a bit worrisome. Am I overreacting to think an intense experience like that could trigger or induce PTSD, which is no joking matter? What if someone were pregnant? Had a weak heart? In the throes of grief? Were packing a pistol and stood ready to defend coffee shops against the devil in the form of a laptop user scorned? Horrible things do break out in public places, and we all carry the trepidation of a trauma, whether we are aware or not. 

Amusement park rides screen out people who aren't up for "thrills," but what about click-greedy video producers? The liability issues involved make me doubt that non-actors are seen in the videos. I also think that with the money invested in this prank, the producers would want to control the outcome by securing releases before throwing a stuntman up a wall. But maybe that's a cynical read. 

Either way, I don't like our new stunt culture. I want off this ride.

Is this video cool? Or is this an abuse of public trust because of the intensity? Or is everyone an actor and I just need to not worry about whether victims are having nightmares or not and be happy more people were paid in Hollywood last week, and that this is the least of our desensitization worries?

What do you think? As an aside, would you mind picking up a grande mocha latte for me? I need one, but suddenly don't feel like making a run to a coffeevshop anytime soon. 


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