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2017 11 22 The Follower

The Follower Movie Review

Written by Rachel Knightley

Released by Terror Films

Directed by Kévin Mendiboure
Written by Vincent Darkman and Kévin Mendiboure
2017, 79 minutes, Not Rated
Released on 31st October 2017

Nicolas Shake as David Baker
Nicolas Shake as David Baker
Chloé Dumas as Carol Anderson
Chloé Dumas as Carol Anderson
Benjamin Polounovsky as Frank
Boris Anderssen Comar as Mister Kabovsky

the follower poster


David Baker (Shake) has a YouTube channel about the supernatural. Carol Anderson (Dumas) has a strange and lonely house on the edge of the wood. Carol is, of course, as strange, lonely and beautiful as the house. She invites him to investigate freely, as long as he stays out of her grandmother’s room. Keen to boost his online fame, David comes to stay. He is quick to encroach, first on Carol’s privacy then on her grandmother’s room. What unfolds puts him off getting in any deeper, but leaving the house behind is not enough: whatever is happening to Carol follows him back into his own life and home.

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Glamorously creepy shots of the surrounding woods bring a neatly chilling sense of Carol’s physical and mental isolation. The dialogue between the leads begins awkwardly, with characters’ voices pretty much interchangeable. Still, the story moves on and, in spite of missed opportunities for chemistry, we are quickly pulled along with David’s investigation. A problem does come in the slightly awkward relationship with found-footage-style storytelling. While the point is driven home to us that David is recording everything, point-of-view shots leak from camcorder into omniscient, destabilising the sense of reality. David repeatedly informs the camera how scary something we have seen was and/or is about to be, but lacks the emotional investment for us to be carried by him. His chemistry with Carol and others is similarly affected by this reliance on telling over showing.

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Chloe Dumas finds complexity and vulnerability in Carol’s losing battle against her ghost and self. This is a touching portrait of a woman punishing herself for her past by not choosing to escape it. Scenes of sleepwalking and of domestic arguments with a violent, invisible relative are particularly compelling, and this is all credit to Dumas. Best of all perhaps is the pendant she subtly draws attention to at the beginning, which comes back for a delightful scare when David thinks he’s left her behind. There are more traditionalist chills as chairs start to move on their own at night, filmed by David’s camera while he sleeps. One unexplained shadow makes for a great ghost image, even if it’s confusingly absent from other such scenes. The actors are well-cast but appear undernourished in terms of script and direction over character insight. Even Dumas would have benefitted from more energy spent in connection between the leads and finding the emotional weight that would have meant more of the story could be conveyed emotionally and visually.

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Overall, The Follower keeps the promises of its trailer: a creepy and intriguing series of images (albeit with pace battling against heavy ‘telling’ narration) with cinematography and sound design strong enough to ensure atmosphere wins out against the sense that character might have been a little lost in translation.


Movie: 3 Star Rating Cover
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