September 30, 2020 Followed (Movie Review)
Over the years, the found footage genre has become quite stale. Trying to replicate the magic felt so many years ago with 1999’s The Blair Witch Project or as early modern Japanese masterpieces such as 2010’s Shirome and 2013’s Cult, there really has not been much to rave about since. In 2020 the genre is still at a place where we are looking for a happy medium where it can stand on its own two feet without getting sucked into this void of unimportance. That in mind, Director Antoine Le (Without Your Head 2006, Bar Union 2014) and Writer Todd Klick try to rekindle some excitement with the new film Followed.
Coming to VOD on September 1, 2020 via Global View Entertainment, Followed tells the story of aspiring social media influencer “DroptheMike” (Matthew Solomon: We’re Not Friends 2016, Ballers 2015) and how the filmmaker is offered a sponsorship to help grow his channel.
Unfortunately things go wrong when Mike and his camera crew Chris (Tim Drier: American Crime Story series, Pledges 2018) and Danni (Samantha Valentine: The Incantation 2018, A.P. Bio 2019) venture off to one of the most haunted hotels in America, where he will give his audience a horrific night of thrill-seeking no one will ever forget. What began as a fun investigative challenge including an infamous “Elevator Ritual” quickly turns into more than what they bargained for. Which begs the timely question: How far would one go to pursue internet fame?
A storyline which has worked well in the past, Followed already has this going for it. It is a framework that is strong because it takes something very relevant for today’s society and using it effectively to hit a target audience: social media users and its influencers. There is something very authentic and real about the delivery of this and it will make people want to sit for the duration of the film. Let’s face it, people are willing to do just about anything if it means going viral to become famous on the internet. In this way, the film feels a bit more mature than most that try to replicate this same premise. However, that is where all the glimmer in its originality and interest comes to an end.
From this point on, despite some well-written dialogue between characters, the plot has trouble getting out of this hole of feeling predictable. Though Followed maintains its premise of sticking to its plan, despite the cost and clever use of scare tactics tastefully, it scarcely delivers anything new that we has not seen before in other film.
The scare techniques themselves were somewhat effective throughout the film; using a combination of actual camera footage and CGI effects to build moderately engaging suspense at every turn. Although, the scares are not nearly enough to hold up at times due to non-eventful jump scare climaxes that hold little to no value within the film. On the other end, the performances hold up well despite the weak plot and less than effective scare tactics that come into play; every actor brings their character to life, making them feel real, not stale, or fake. For this reason, Followed is easy to digest and that is why Cryptic Rock give it 2.5 out of 5 stars.