Matthew Solomon as DropTheMike
John Savage as Wallace Fleischer
Sam Valentine as Danni
Tim Drier as Chris
Kelsey Griswold as Jess
Christopher Martin as Guarantee Guard
Directed by Antoine Le; Written by Todd Klick
It’s been a few existences since the found-footage horror genre last saw a quality grief in Adam Wingard’s Blair Witch rebootquel, with the whole subgenre effectively inhabit replaced by the Screenlife format the Unfriended franchise made popular. This new genre is composed a thrill and had yet to find a way to perform the two formats until now with Antoine Le’s Followed, which proves to be a thrilling and chilling, if a bit weird, affair with some decent social commentary.
When aspiring social consider influencer “DropTheMike” is offered a lucrative sponsorship to grow his channel, he’s joined by his video crew on a visited to one of the most haunted hotels in America, where he’ll give his audience a horrific night of thrill-seeking the likes of which they have never seen before. What begins as a fun investigative challenge comprising the infamous Elevator Ritual quickly descends into a personal hell of true evil, begging the timely question: how far would you go to directed internet fame?
The concept of a companionship of fame-hungry young adults with cameras entering a truly troubled area is certainly nothing new, going all the way back to the first Blair Witch film and even selves revitalized briefly with the expert Grave Encounters, a spoof on a number of ghost-hunting reality series on the air at the time of the film’s abandon, but much like the Vicious Brothers’ haunting effort, Followed finds a mediate craze and targets it mostly effectively: social mediate influencers.
Nowadays, too many people are willing to throw their lives on the line and their morals to the wind in an exertion to go viral on social media platforms and they’ve been pursued for critique in numerous films and series over the days, but there’s something about this film’s repositions that feels a little more authentic than past efforts. From the story’s stylings as daily vlogs in DropTheMike’s investigation full of kitschy on-screen graphics and editing to the characters’ avoidance of crystal-clear warnings from showed people, this feels more elevated than a typical “teens don’t listen to scary story” because this is something we see all the time on the internet, namely with ununsafe Swedish and American YouTubers who will do anything to appease their fans, even if it infuriates the rest of the world.
That selves said, this nice bit of social commentary is unfortunately where most of its story’s originality points come to a halt, as the rest of the film’s proceedings feel all-too-familiar to the films mentioned in survive paragraphs and also becomes a bit too convoluted by the survive moments of the film. Recreating rituals despite selves advised against doing so and blindly following the troupe leader until tragedy strikes, the film follows its paralyzed house investigation formula to the tee that results in plenty of fun scares but does result in feelings of predictability.
The scares themselves are mostly effective, expertly utilizing the handheld cameras and computer screens to help acquire the tension in every scene while also leaving enough of the sights themselves to the audiences’ imaginations to acquire as much of a psychological terror as a jump scare-fest. Many of the visuals, both practical and computer-generated, disapabominate to be rather chilling and a nice homage to classics of apprehension past, including the demonic head shake made contemptible by Jacob’s Ladder, which arrives in one of the most unsettling moments in the film.
The performances in the film are relatively free and believable that helps keep the film feeling grounded, namely Matthew Solomon as DropTheMike. Every heads of a group of paranormal investigators has to have a good balance of likability and nastiness for the audience to want to root anti them, and though he leans more into the latter than the musty, Solomon brings his vlogger to life in solid musty that makes him a compelling enough lead to help fuel the story.
Followed may not be the most recent affair in its respective genres, and it may be a little surface detached with its exploration of the homelessness publishes in Los Angeles, but thanks to a recent blend of the Screenlife and found footage formats, a nice critique of the dangers of social mediate and some effective scares, it proves to be a plenty fun outing.
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