Followers Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Screenbound Pictures & Blue Dolphin Films
Written and directed by Marcus Harben
2021, 83 minutes, Rated 15
Released on 18th March 2021
Harry Jarvis as Jonty
Loreece Harrison as Zauna
Nina Wadia as Becky Dubar
Erin Austen as Amber
My movie pet peeve of the 2010s meets my movie pet peeve of the 2020s in Followers… a found footage film about influencers in a haunted house (to be clear, the haunted house is not one of the things I have a problem with). Social media influencer Jonty (if ever there was a red flag, it’d be the name Jonty) strikes gold when he discovers that the house he lives in is haunted. As the ghost’s antics bring Jonty the fame, fortune and followers he so craves, he learns that his newfound popularity comes at a price… one that spells death for his gang of friends and hangers-on.
Writer and director Marcus Harben’s found footage comedy horror film follows (heh) in the footsteps of Spree, Followed, Ingrid Goes West and even this year’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Like the hippies of yore, sooner or later we (I) have to accept that horror films about influencers are here to stay. These ones, at least, are quite well made.
Making a horror film about people you’re supposed to despise is no easy task – do it like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and it just comes across as unpleasant and kind of stereotypical boomer-ish; do it too well, and everyone is going to end up with a massive headache. As Jonty, Harry Jarvis is just charismatic enough to make it work, while Harben wisely surrounds him with frustrated, eye-rolling straight men and women (notably James McAvoy soundalike Daniel Cahill, whose temper and swearing steals the show). And Eastenders star Nina Wadia, too, just in case you were feeling a bit too old for all this.
There’s a good supernatural mystery at the core of Followers – and one that should appeal to fans of Adam Ellis’s media-savvy “dear David” saga. While its scare sequences aren’t particularly innovative, Harben’s mixed social media approach to found footage keeps things lively and entertaining. Surprisingly, it’s the socials that feel less authentic – cheap imitations of the usual platforms and vaguely fake talking heads. Granted, I didn’t want influencer horror in the first place, but if you’re going to do it, at least do it so it looks like the real thing.
Coming in while the trend is still a relatively new one, is a cautious blend of genre tradition, techno-tomfoolery and good, old-fashioned acting. Harben could have sat back, farming the hate-clicks and streams, but there’s a solid supernatural horror flick underpinning all the online affectations.
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