Followers Image

Followers

By Norman Gidney | April 29, 2018

A social media couple’s camping trip is ruined by filmmakers making a documentary on how easy it is to track someone down off social media and kill them.

The idea is a good one. A horror movie about those who target social media stars to illustrate just how easy it is to gain access to them. Stunning specimens of fitness and personal perfection, Brooke (Amanda Delaney) and Caleb (Justin Maina) are social media stars. They are everywhere on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc., espousing the virtues of yoga, eating right, and pretty much any sponsored placement they can get money for.

The two broadcast freely that they are heading out on a camping trip and are stunned when people begin to follow them. After hiking deep into the woods for that perfect place, the two set up camp and begin their idyllic respite from the world, all the while documenting everything for their viewers at home. Kinda defeats the purpose but yeah. Everything is fine until a pair of thugs with metallic masks, donning go-pros on their heads, accost the svelte pair at gunpoint.

“…about those who target social media stars to illustrate just how easy it is to gain access…”

Oh but JK JK. The pair is really just Jake (Sean Michael Gloria) and Nick (Nishant Gogna), a pair of documentarians who are eager to demonstrate how easy it is to go after those who make their living by being internet celebrities. Why do they want to do this? Not exactly clear. Funny, yes, but it hardly proves a point that isn’t a demonstrable fact.

Oh but wait. At the end of act two, the film folds in on itself once again with another surprise. Attempting to put a button on a so-so idea, we get yet another turn in the story since there really isn’t anywhere else to go.

“…definitely some green talent here with all involved.”

Shot in the well-trodden found footage format, this cautionary tale of celebrities, the industry and others converging in a tragic way strains hard to bring something new to the table. Like a sow rooting for truffles, director Ryan Justice pokes and prods for new ways to present the found footage formula and, to be honest, comes up with some fun ideas. It’s unfortunate then, that the fundamental issue with the conceit is still right there in the open; “Why don’t they drop the camera and run?” I am really trying to assess the work on its own merit without faulting it for doing exactly what it sets out to do, but…

No writers are credited here, instead, an outline was given and the actors went with the scenarios, ad-libbing as they went along. Nobody is particularly awful with everyone doing their best to stay in the moment.

If there is one thing I can say is, keep trying. There is definitely some green talent here with all involved. Keep working, keep trying.

Followers (2018) Directed by Ryan Justice. Starring  Amanda Delaney,  Justin Maina,  Sean Michael Gloria, Nishant Gogna, David E. McMahon, and Emily Steward

Followers is worth VOD (**)

Norm’s Rating System: Full Price (****), Matinee (***), VOD (**), Don’t Bother (*)

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