Directed by: Sam Hardy
Screenplay: Sam Hardy
Starring: Kara Kingsward-Hughes, Scarlett Davies, Maria Louis
BBFC Certification: 15
The found footage freight train rolls on with another low budget but short and sweet entry in #Followme. Three young ladies head to the US on a trip of a lifetime to attend a convention where everyday folks can meet their favourite YouTubers. Sophie (Kingsward-Hughes) is a successful vlogger (2 million subscribers we’re often told!), takes her two bezzies (Davies and Louis) on the trip with her and using the hash-tag, follow me, documents the trip in excruciating detail as, well, vloggers do. Little do they know that a vicious killer is following said hash-tag to stalk the trio and thus, turns their trip into a living nightmare.
While there is not a lot new here, the flick, following the found footage formula a little too strictly (annoying characters, excessive shaky cam, taking an age to get to any actual action/threat/gore!), #Followme still has enough to offer, especially to die-hard found footage fans. The sunny California setting certainly helps to elevate production values and the slant of the protagonist being a vlogger at least means there is a legitimate reason to keep filming. Though (as is the norm in this genre), this reasoning is stretched to breaking point come the final act. While it does take far too long to get to the horror action (meaning the film does actually play out as if it’s just someone’s vlog!), a sense of dread is gently built as the trio’s plans seem to fall apart at every turn. Once the actual #Followme killer does make an appearance, they are an effective bogeyman, albeit not getting anywhere near enough screen-time. However, the notion of social media and the constant need to follow/update/like is well presented and provides a modern eerie slant to proceedings as the protagonists are essentially cyber-stalked and manipulated from the moment they tag themselves in LA.
Unfortunately, as is too often with modern vloggers/social media ‘pioneers’ it’s hard to really relate to, sympathize with and, ultimately, like them. While the three actresses do their best and commit whole-heartedly to proceedings it’s hard to really warm to them. Incessant swearing, little character depth and constant mugging for the vlog dampens tension and means it’s hard to root for them in the end. Maybe the younger crowd can identify with them more and if the intention is for the three to be ciphers for what the modern young social media generation represent, then the film succeeds. However, it’s not always clear whether this is the case or whether they are in fact just annoying characters. This means #Followme isn’t quite as good as it could have been but thanks to its unique antagonist and some genuine tension it still delivers a satisfying ride for found-footage genre addicts.
#Followme is out now and available via various streaming platforms.