18th Mar2022

‘Followers’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Harry Jarvis, Loreece Harrison, Erin Austen, Daniel Cahil, Nina Wadia, Orion Lee, Tanya Burr, Poppy Roe | Written and Directed by Marcus Harben

While checking the local cinema listings for Ti West’s new slasher movie X, I noticed that another horror movie was getting a theatrical release in the UK… Followers is that movie and it tells the story of a social media influencer and the house he shares with three other people. Desperate to get rich and become famous, this starts to become a reality when the house is seemingly haunted. More views, more likes and more followers follow but something even more sinister is waiting in the wings.

As the movie heavily features social media, it’s no surprise that this is a modern take on the found footage genre. All footage is either from people’s phones (often as screenshots from video comments or as text messages) or from expensive-looking hand-held cameras. We get multiple camera angles for single scenes because the characters, and especially the main one, are desperate to get footage for their social media. It actually works well in giving a reason for the cameras to keep rolling. When a character is desperately filming a moment when serious injury or death is a possibility, you actually understand why. Usually, because they’re an idiot who would want their last moments posted on the internet for ‘likes’. These characters are exactly those types of people that aren’t uncommon in the real world.

The trouble with the characters in Followers is that they are all really unlikeable. Maybe I’m the wrong age but they have no redeeming qualities at all. All very self-centred and annoying. I’m sure some people will be able to relate to them but not me. I think the character Zauna (played by Loreece Harrison) is supposed to be the one we root for. The one we want to see survive and cheer on. She gets a side story to give her some sympathy and she’s not quite as annoying as the other characters but when the film doesn’t focus on her, she becomes uninteresting and I struggled to care about her at all by the end.

The cast are decent though. Their characters are meant to be kind of annoying. At least that’s how it came across to me and each cast member seems to know exactly how their character should be acting. The film-makers even got Nina Wadia (Eastenders, Aladdin) in a semi-prominent role. Poppy Roe also has a small cameo, an actress I believe should be doing much bigger things after the excellent A Serial Killer’s Guide To Life.

As this movie is all about ghosts, second only to its social media-orientated characters, then you’d think I would be talking about the scares and horror-filled scenes. But honestly, there isn’t really any. I don’t expect to be jumping out of my seat but I wanted much more. There was only one scene that felt like it might create some kind of spook. As an elderly relative sees something behind Zauna on her webcam. Unfortunately, the big reveal is massively disappointing.

Followers wants to be some kind of modern social media version of Paranormal Activity but it fails at every level (and we have Next of Kin just released if you need your Paranormal Activity fix). Not one to add to my found footage favourites list.

Followers is in UK cinemas now from Screenbound Pictures and Blue Dolphin Films.


Comments are closed.