Technology as a source of horror has been a popular genre staple. As the 80’s gave way to the 1990’s, the Internet replaced computers as our ‘techno-boogeymen’. Not surprisingly then, horror has increasingly shifted its focus onto social media to mine more scares out of technophobes. While Unfriended exploited fears of social media and cyberbullying, more recent entries, like Cam and #FromJennifer, have explored the dangers of our ‘Like’s’ obsessed culture. Now #FollowMe looks to borrow more than just the hashtag. This 2019 mix of found-footage and stalker movie tries to scare you right off your Instagram accounts.
British YouTuber Sophie and her friends, Jessica and Lisa, head to Los Angeles for a social media convention. But after posting the tag, #followme, an unseen stalker menaces the trio as they travel to San Francisco. After arriving at a roadside motel, the girls abruptly went missing. To date, all the police have recovered is the trio’s video footage showing their last moments.
#FollowMe Is Video Footage Missing a Movie
As it turns out, Sophie and her ‘Instagram Influencer’ friends aren’t the only ones missing by the of this movie. #FollowMe is just video footage in search of a movie. Director Sean Brady mistakes glacial pacing with ‘slow burn’. For the first 30 minutes or so of the movie, there’s absolutely nothing that happens. That is, #FollowMe shows no direction whatsoever unless you count ceaseless banter as character development. When Brady finally introduces a threat and some semblance of story-telling momentum, he fails to build on it. Everything literally culminates in the movie’s final 10 to 15 minutes. And the payoff is underwhelming. Simply put, Brady never demonstrates any grasp of how to craft suspense, tension, or scares.
An Illogical Movie That Fails to Follow the Rules Set By Its Own Format
Poor #FollowMe … it can’t even seem to follow its own found-footage conventions. Major lapses of logic plague the movie. If the police found the footage, and we’re watching it, and we see what happens to the British trio, why are they considered ‘missing’? And if it’s found footage, why does sad, dramatic music play during Sophie’s final ‘Blair Witch Project‘ monologue rip-off? Someone added that for the sake of effect? In addition to these blunders, #FollowMe suffers all the same problems afflicting the worst of found-footage horror. Most notably, the shaky cam effect is present in full force.
Annoying, Indistinguishable Characters Unlikely to Elicit Much Sympathy
Doubling as director and writer, Hardy clearly wanted #FollowMe to comment on our selfie-obsessed culture of YouTubers, Instagram Influencers, and ‘Like’s’. Despite the intentions, #FollowMe doesn’t muster much of any commentary. Aside from heavy-handed piece of dialogue that sticks out like a sore thumb two-thirds of the way into the movie, Hardy does nothing with the idea. That is, unless you consider making your characters vapid examples of the culture you’re mocking as commentary. In this regard, you could argue that the unknown actors excel. Without a doubt, every character in this movie is an annoying, vapid.
#FollowMe More Vile, Than Viral
If #FollowMe was supposed to be a morality tale about the perils of our self-absorbed, selfie culture, I guess it’s sort of a success. You’ll certainly hate ‘YouTubers’ and ‘Instagram Influencers’ after watching this movie. But as a movie with definable characters, suspense and tension, and a forward-moving story, #FollowMe is an absolute failure. Weighed down by at least an hour of nothingness, #FollowMe doesn’t deliver a payoff to justify its own existence. Consider this movie clickbait.