A lot of horror films and thrillers rely on our dark and deep desire to see people get hurt and then still make it out alive, maybe even save the day. It sounds sadistic when written out like this, but it’s true. Horror runs entirely on the idea that people will pay to watch fictional characters be tortured, tormented and challenged, allowing the victim (or a final girl, if we’re talking slashers) to rise from the ashes like a phoenix and kill their oppressors.
Follow Her twists this narrative and it’s a very clever idea, executed spectacularly. Dani Parker plays Jess, a 27-year-old online influencer, who replies to strange ads by seemingly harmless men. The ads are usually a front to the men’s kinks, like tickling or being brutally dominated and Jess exposes the men online, but never shows their faces.
After a little technical snafu is about to cost her a load of followers, Jess is desperate and answers an ad looking for a writer to finish up a screenplay. She meets Tom (Luke Cook), who clearly isn’t who he says he is and Jess is in for a night from hell.
To reveal anything else about Follow Her’s plot is to ruin it. It’s a film where it’s best to go into it without knowing too much so the twists and turns have the opportunity to shock you. Mind you, Follow Her isn’t a scary film per se. It’s more a thriller than it is a horror, but there is something authentically terrifying about Jess’ obsession to livestream at any cost. She’s worried about getting Wi-Fi at Tom’s house so she can stream for her fans, but isn’t concerned for her own well-being, having followed a stranger to their house alone.
Barker, who also wrote the film, turns in a phenomenal performance as Jess. She starts off as sweet, innocent and even a little angelic, but the film slowly starts to reveal her true colours. Jess’ desire to be famous is her eventual downfall, but Barker is able to still keep Jess as a character we care about, or at least are interested to see how she gets herself out of the increasingly strange situation.
Follow Her is a film with a lot to say, but it does it in a fun way. Never does the film shove a message down your throat, it only seduces you to think about the ugly side of social media fame. Director Sylvia Caminer has an iron-tight grip on the film and it’s directed with confidence and visual flair.
The ending is particularly clever and fun, which makes Follow Her stay with you long after the credits have started rolling. Cook and Barker have a playful, sexy dynamic, which carries the film in-between all the narrative twists. Follow Her is one of the better social media horrors we’ve recently had and one that’ll surely stir up conversation.