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Truth in Journalism is a 2013 short film by director Joe Lynch and producer Adi Shankar, starring Ryan Kwanten as a well-known and rather quirky (some would say troubled) journalist named Eddie. Eddie is the subject of an amateur documentary by a group of young filmmakers who want to get his perspective on his controversial career. So begins a series of interviews that become more twisted and strange with each day. And as the film crew quickly discover, Eddie's not the type to take constructive criticism...

The film can be watched in its entirety on Vimeo.

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Truth in Journalism provides examples of:

  • The '80s: The dialogue and music indicates that the film takes place in the '80s, or at least the Marvel Universe's equivalent to that period.
  • Adaptation Distillation: This version of Venom is a fusion of his earliest appearances (a ruthless murderer who doesn't particularly care about hurting innocents or letting them be hurt), with some elements of his later characterizations (a "Lethal Protector" who punishes crime in the most violent manners possible).
  • Affably Evil:
    • Eddie's a pretty callous guy, but he's also quite friendly and almost childlike in a way. Turns into Faux Affably Evil the second he's pissed off, though.
    • Bullseye also comes off as a pretty polite guy, if you can get past the whole "psychotic assassin" thing. Eddie and him even have a moment where the assassin kindly asks to borrow the reporter's pen. Eddie, knowing who he is, helps out his fellow supervillain by clicking the pen for him first after glancing between Bullseye and his next victim.
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  • Anachronic Order: The stinger with Eddie and his film crew running across Bullseye and his film crew takes place earlier in the shoot, as evidenced by the fact that frames of this scene appear in the montage at the start of the film.
  • Attention Whore: Eddie. The entire documentary is an attempt to get recognition for himself and improve his reputation.
  • Ax-Crazy: Eddie definitely isn't this. He's totally sane and reasonable! Unless you anger him in even the slightest manner...
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Eddie uses this to get into crime scenes, flashing a toy badge quickly and insisting he's with the forensics department. It's not super effective; the actual forensics detective shows up while he's working and he's forced to flee before a confrontation can ensue, knowing his badge trick won't hold up under scrutiny.
  • Berserk Button: Eddie really doesn't like it when people try to talk about him losing his job. He reacts even worse to the film crew trying to cut ties with him.
  • Black Comedy: Quite a bit, mainly because Eddie has such bizarre, muted reactions to everything happening. But nothing tops Venom and his crew accidentally interrupting a triple homicide being carried out by Bullseye... and promptly being chewed out by another film crew for messing up their documentary.
  • Body Horror: Eddie's transformation involves him vomiting up the symbiote before it completely engulfs him.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Eddie talks with this accent. It's not extreme, but the twang is definitely there.
  • Butt-Monkey: The sound guy gets the most mockery from Eddie, ends up vomiting his guts out during the mugging, and finally dies in a particularly brutal manner at Venom's hands.
  • The Cameo:
  • Camera Abuse: The camera gets dropped on the ground hard when Venom kills the cameraman.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Eddie's a little strange. He rambles easily, has some pretty out-there opinions, and seems to have trouble socializing with people.
  • Combat Tentacles: Venom busts some out while killing the crew.
  • Confronting Your Imposter: Eddie impersonates a forensics detective to get in a crime scene, only for the real detective to show up, forcing him and the crew to book it.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • A lot, and they actually serve a purpose; they help the viewer figure out where in the series chronology the film takes place. It's set eight months after Spider-Man ditches the black suit and Eddie Brock becomes Venom. It also happens at the same time as the storyline where he breaks into Spider-Man's house and threatens Mary Jane. Eddie alludes to his firing from the Daily Bugle as happening fairly recently, and partway in he temporarily leaves to pay Mary Jane his visit.
    • Bullseye is shown using a pair of sais, implied to be the same ones he stole from Elektra and used to murder her.
    • The director tries to bring up the case that got Eddie fired from his old job, which Marvel Comics fans may recognize as Sin-Eater's killing spree and Eddie's bungled attempt to catch him. Eddie also at one point describes his penance for the botched story as "eating my sins", acknowledging the pun.
    • A Daily Bugle paper seen has a front page article about the government performing gamma bomb tests in the Nevada Desert...
  • Creator Cameo: Adi Shankar plays the director of the Bullseye shoot.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Many to Eddie's career as a journalist. They're actually not that cryptic if you're a Spider-Man fan.
  • Deconstruction: Of Perspective Flips and Villain Episodes that make the villain more sympathetic. Getting Venom's side of the story just makes him come off as even crazier and rather pathetic. He also arranges the whole filming expressly to try and make himself look better.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: Eddie is quite prone to going on self-important monologues about himself that just scream "I'm nowhere near as erudite as I'm pretending to be."
  • Dramatic Irony: When Eddie announces that he has to see a lady friend of his, the film crew start congratulating him, thinking he's got a date. He gently says that she's just a friend of a "colleague". Given the timeframe the movie takes place in, the audience knows he's not seeing a friend or going on a date; he's going to break into Spider-Man's home to threaten Mary Jane for being associated with Peter.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Eddie and the crew spy two junkies shooting up outside Eddie's apartment, causing him to remark on how bad drugs are for you. The way he phrases it makes it almost come off like a threat. Later on it is implied that Venom paid them a visit, killing one of them and leaving the other traumatized.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: A very creepy version; Eddie quickly starts acting like a total Yandere towards the film crew, insisting they're his friends and getting genuinely upset when they cut ties with him. He also murders them to keep them from leaving him.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Eddie seems to think jokes about eating corpses and murdering people are hilarious.
  • Evil Is Petty: It's hard to get more petty than savagely murdering three people because they won't film a movie about you.
  • Fan Film: Though you don't find out just who it's about until the end. It's Venom.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Eddie's Room Full of Crazy feels a bit like a Stalker Shrine for Spider-Man...
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Eddie outright mentions how he's now spewing "bile and venom" at the Examiner. A similar statement is why he choose the name "Venom" in his comic origin.
    • Eddie talks about his backstory, involving him losing his job at a major newspaper and nearly committing suicide, only to experience an incredible event in a church that gave him a new view on life. Any Spider-Man fan will recognize that as Venom's origin story.
    • Eddie noticeably tenses up when the director says the word spider...
    • Eddie is scornful of vigilantes. Because he's the Archenemy of one, namely Spider-Man.
    • Eddie is seen talking to himself shirtless in the bathroom about whether or not to trust the documentary crew. The second he realizes he's being watched and eavesdropped on, he closes the door then bursts through it again a second later, fully dressed in a suit, tie and pants.
    • After chasing the muggers who fatally stabbed their victim, Eddie casually gestures backwards when asked if he managed to catch them. The muggers are seen hanging upside down, likely dead, high up on the stairs of an apartment. When the director asks how he did it, Eddie redirects their attention off the topic and back to the dying mugging victim.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • During the mugging scene, Eddie uses newspapers to cover up the victim's body. Pause and you'll see said papers are from the Daily Bugle. The front page article is about a nuclear test in the Nevada desert.
    • Just before everything goes to hell in the climax, we're given a very brief glimpse of a bunch of newspaper articles about Spider-Man.
  • The Ghost:
    • Spider-Man is obliquely talked about and appears in some photos in Eddie's Room Full of Crazy, but that's it. He never directly appears and Eddie gets decidedly uncomfortable when the director tries to bring the subject up.
    • Emil Gregg, the man Eddie falsely accused of being the Sin-Eater, is mentioned by name, but never appears.
  • Here We Go Again!: The ending shows a different documentary crew attempting the same basic idea with Bullseye. Albeit outright recording a Snuff Film.
  • Hypocrite: Eddie is very dismissive of vigilantes, despite being one himself by most definitions. He is, after all, a lethal protector...
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Eddie sees a body at a crime scene and jokingly insinuates this by saying "Delicious". He probably wasn't really joking, given who he is and the fact that he actually does eat the film crew's brains at the end. It may well have even been Venom speaking for him, using Eddie's voice.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Eddie does this to get into crime scenes he's interested in.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • The sound guy, in a panic, tries using his boom mic like a staff to fight off Venom. Needless to say, it doesn't work.
    • In The Stinger, Bullseye, in typical Bullseye fashion, uses Eddie's pen as a lethal projectile weapon.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Eddie sees himself as this. In truth? Not so much.
  • Jerkass: Eddie's a bit of a dick. And a murderer.
  • Large Ham: The guy who's filming Bullseye. He appears for under a minute, but he makes the most of it.
  • Loose Canon: The story could be easily slotted into any version of the Marvel Universe.
  • Kick the Dog: Eddie and the crew stumble upon a mugging and Eddie does absolutely nothing to prevent the poor victim from being fatally stabbed. He then cracks jokes as the guy bleeds to death and makes the crew film the corpse.
  • Kill 'Em All: Venom slaughters the entire film crew.
  • Mockumentary: A variation: in-universe, Eddie orchestrated the shoot as a means of bolstering up his reputation in light of his career woes.
  • Mood Whiplash: The first half is largely spent on Eddie's weird antics and opinions, and it seems the whole film will be pretty lighthearted. Then Eddie lets a man die for the sake of a story and forces the crew to film the corpse. Later, Venom horrifically murdering the film crew is immediately followed by a hilarious stinger.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Eddie talks about how he was contemplating suicide before a life-changing epiphany he had in church. As any comic fan can tell you, Venom got his powers in a church while he was considering suicide.
    • Eddie describes the tabloid he's currently working for as "spewing bile and venom", referencing the line he introduced himself to Spider-Man with in the comics: "You may call me Venom, for that's what I'm paid to spew out these days!"
    • The ending heavily implies that Venom eats the film crew's brains (or at least kills them by attacking their heads), referencing his infamous Horror Hunger for brains in the comics.
    • Eddie at one point gives an interview while lifting weights, alluding to his body-building hobby in the source material. His apartment is also a near 1:1 recreation of how it looked in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, down to the frameless mattress and room covered in Eddie's old news articles and pictures of Spider-Man.
    • Bullseye wears the black trenchcoat outfit he wore in the live-action Daredevil movie. He also has a target-shaped scar on his forehead, another reference to that film.
    • The lack of a Chest Insignia on Venom resembles his appearance in Ultimate Marvel and the later released Venom (2018). Although, this can also just be explained in that Venom doesn't have the symbol yet.
  • No Budget: In-Universe. The documentary is being made on a shoestring budget (implied to be the reason it’s shot on black and white film), and part way in the crew runs out of film stock. Eddie offers to pay for more, but the director refuses on the grounds that this would compromise the integrity of the project. Eddie doesn’t take it well.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We don’t actually see how Venom kills the film crew, as either his body blocks the view or the cameraman understandably doesn’t bother trying to film the deaths.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: Eddie comes off less like a legitimate reporter and more like a kid playing as one. He also takes rejection really badly...
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Eddie's Bavarian Fire Drill doesn't actually work that well, as a real forensics detective shows up and exposes him as a fake.
    • The sound guy notes towards the end that most, if not all, of the footage they've taken is unusable since Eddie commits some pretty flagrant crimes in it, making the crew accomplices.
    • Because of the lack of budget, the production quickly runs out of film. Eddie offers to buy more, but since the crew has become distrustful of him, they want to back out altogether.
  • The Reveal: The film is set in the Marvel Universe and Eddie is Venom.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Eddie's bedroom is a complete mess. Which is to say, it's covered almost entirely with newspaper articles about Spider-Man.
  • Schmuck Bait: "You guys wanna see something cool?"
  • Self-Serving Memory: Eddie describes the event that got him fired from the Daily Globe as merely him being wrong about one story. That's a pretty generous way to describe, pegging the wrong suspect in a major serial killer case, potentially getting innocent people killed and irreparably tarring the Globe's reputation.
  • Serial Killer: Eddie got fired from his old job after he botched a story about a serial killer. Specifically, the Sin-Eater.
  • Shaky Cam: Largely averted, since the cameraman is a professional one who knows how to avoid this, but quite justifiably turns up in the climax when Venom slaughters the crew and the cameraman rightfully freaks out.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Right before turning into Venom, Eddie asks the film crew if they want to see something cool.
    • The documentary crew meeting another film crew following a murderer is a direct homage to Belgian movie Man Bites Dog, where the same thing happens.
  • Skewed Priorities: Eddie cares more about getting a scoop than he does about a guy bleeding to death in front of him.
  • Social Darwinist: Eddie expresses this attitude, and it's part of why he dislikes vigilantes and superheroes so much; in his eyes, sometimes you just have to "let the herd get thinned".
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • Glenn Frey's smooth, upbeat "You Belong to the City" playing over Venom gruesomely murdering the film crew. Played with, as while the tune of the song is obviously ill-fitting, the lyrics are quite appropriate to Venom as a character and how he sees himself. He also turns it up loud and closes his window to drown out their screams.
    • "Oh Yeah", the song best known for appearing in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, shows up in The Stinger as the last musical cue of the film as Eddie and his crew start filming Bullseye's victims.
  • Start of Darkness: Eddie alludes to his a few times, mentioning how he got fired from his old job after a botched assignment, ended up suicidal, and had an out-of-body experience in a church that changed his view of the world. Fans of the Spider-Man comics may notice that's basically Venom's origin...
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Apparently two film crews had the idea of making documentaries about a supervillain...
  • Tabloid Melodrama: After being fired from the prestigious gig he had before, Eddie now works as a writer for a sleazy tabloid and hatefully describes his new job as "spewing bile and venom".
  • Too Dumb to Live: Against the protests of his team, the director insists on breaking the news about stopping the film to Eddie personally. No points for guessing how that ends.
  • Truer to the Text: The film's portrayal of Venom generally hues closer to the character's original portrayal in the comics, back when he was a ruthless villain rather than a "lethal protector".
  • Twice-Told Tale:
  • Vigilante Man: Eddie discusses these types at one point. He's pretty dismissive of them, seeing them as not really doing anything to curb crime. He believes the best way to handle it is to simply inform the public properly on how to protect themselves. Given he's a supervillain, he's a bit biased.
  • Villain Episode: The film is essentially a Spider-Man story from Venom's point of view. Pointedly subverts the "make them sympathetic" part.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The sound guy vomits when the mugging victim bleeds out in front of the group.
  • Wham Shot: Eddie's bedroom.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: While Eddie Brock is identified by name, he's never called Venom. Spider-Man and Bullseye are not named period.
  • Yandere: Eddie starts getting like this with the film crew, culminating in murdering them all when they try to shut down filming.

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