REVIEW: The Follower
– By Dave Dubrow
There’s not a lot of vomit-inducing shaky-cam in the found footage horror film THE FOLLOWER, but unfortunately that’s the best thing it’s got going for it. Between the silly plot choices and bizarre acting it couldn’t match its interesting premise, and failed to deliver on scares. What’s frustrating is that it could’ve been so much better, but something got in the way. Perhaps it was a ghost.
At this point in horror filmmaking, found footage has become a style rather than a gimmick, so you can take it or leave it. I don’t mind the style as long as it doesn’t make me throw up. In service to it, the story focuses on David Baker, who runs a YouTube channel that focuses on weird phenomena. He’s invited to a strange house in the woods that Carol, the beautiful owner, says is haunted. Occult hijinks ensue, from moving chairs to dropping light bulbs to exploding tape recorders.
As too often happens in amateurishly-written films, the plot can only move forward because certain characters make strange or even stupid decisions. 2/3 of the way through the film, the most interesting character is abandoned. The protagonist inexplicably alienates the people trying to help him, and disbelieves the evidence of his own senses. The climax of the movie is too pat and doesn’t fulfill the promise of the buildup.
What was most troubling about the production was its setting: somewhere in the U.S., apparently. The director was French. Just about all of the actors were French. The writer was French. The locations looked French. Why not just set the movie in the French countryside? Give us some subtitles. Make it a little more exotic for us rubes in the States.
The unintentionally funny performance of the psychic, who did a cut-rate impression of Christopher Walken, made the movie for me, as did Chloé Dumas as Carol, who earnestly overacted every scene she was in. Carol’s dog Cerberus did his canine best to be menacing, but his smiling demeanor and wagging tail didn’t fool me, despite attempts to Foley in some barking and snarling as he sat there waiting for a treat. Clunky lines of dialogue like, “You can stay here and languish in self-pity and misery. I hate when people waste my time,” didn’t come off as natural, even when shouted.
Maybe I’m being too nitpicky. Maybe I expected too much. Or, just maybe, this movie was mediocre, at best. Check it out yourself, if you dare, and let me know what you think at The Slaughtered Bird.