follow her | thriller | nightmares film festival | better horror | sylvia caminer | dani barker | luke cook | eliana jones | united states | dark web | mark moses | cristala carter | brian vincent | justin l. wilson | lorraine farris | darrell thorne | maayan laufer
Film: Follow Her
Director: Sylvia Caminer
Writer: Dani Barker
Starring: Dani Barker, Luke Cook and Eliana Jones
This was a movie that I got to see at Nightmares Film Festival. All I knew coming in was that this was the Midwest premiere and this fell in the thriller’s category. I’d say having now seen this, it is horror adjunct or close enough for me to include in my 2022 horror watches.
Synopsis: an aspiring actress responds to a mysterious classified ad and finds herself trapped in her new boss’s twisted revenge fantasy.
For this movie, we are following Jess Peters (Dani Barker). She works for a cam-site. From what I can see, she doesn’t get nude or anything like that. It is more that she vlogs things that she does. She is hovering outside of the top 10 for this site as well. She is also good friends with #1, who is Kai (Eliana Jones). Her father isn’t as thrilled about this. He is a lawyer, Richard (Mark Moses). Her brother is as well.
Now an interesting thing happens here when she answered a classified ad for a toothpaste commercial. It turns into a fetish video where a man tickles her. He doesn’t know he is being recorded. This video turns out to be a good one for her as it pushes her into the top 10. The problem is that the program to hide his face failed and the viewers can see it. Jess decides to pretend like she didn’t realize and leave it up.
Jess then answers another ad that is looking for someone to help them finish writing a screenplay. He wants a woman’s perspective as well. This person turns out to be Tom Brady (Luke Cook). He is from Australian and seems charming. This is to the point where he invites Jess to his place to get what he’s written for the screenplay. There is attraction here, but things get weird. Jess tries to leave. She also must get the hidden cam she set up before she can. This cam is hidden in a pin and she put it on the mantel earlier in the night. Tom isn’t who he seems though and this takes quite a dark turn with the truth of what is happening.
That is where I’m going to leave my recap as well as introduction to the characters. Where I want to start is something that I realized about this year’s Nightmares Film Festival. Vloggers and social media play a big part into the movies shown. It makes sense since most of these were made during the pandemic and this phenomenon is even more important in today’s world. What they do here adds another layer that Jess has issues with boundaries in filming people without their knowledge. She doesn’t like it when it is done to her so we are seeing hypocrisy. There is also a moral dilemma of knowing something that makes you more popular and doing the right thing.
With that out of the way, most of this is a two person show of Jess and Tom. I want to start with her as our victim. I’ve already laid out that she has issues with boundaries when it comes to filming others without permission. She doesn’t see anything wrong with that when it benefits her. I don’t hate her though. She seems to be closer to my age so she isn’t as obnoxious. I can appreciate that. Another commentary I see with her is ignoring ‘red flags’. She knows that going back to Tom’s place isn’t a good idea. They just met. The money is a driving factor and that is real. I even like that she uses her sexuality as a weapon. I’m glad that it isn’t looked down on here. She’s using what she can. That’s not to say something later in this makes her look bad for using what she must to survive.
Where I want to go then next will be Tom. He is a ‘Ted Bundy’ like guy in that he’s good looking and charming. That lures Jess back. I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s the ‘guy next door’, but that is the cliche this is rolling with. What is interesting with him is the reveal of things as this goes on. All I’m going say is that we get some ‘dark web’ type stuff which I love and find terrifying.
Next should be the acting. I thought it was good across the board. I like Barker and Cook. How they play off each other is great. I like the push and pull where one will have the upper hand then the other. They have good on-screen chemistry which makes this work. Jones, Moses and the rest the cast are also solid to push them where they need to end up as well. I had no issues here with the acting.
Lastly should be the filmmaking aspects. I thought that the cinematography was good. We deal a bit with ‘found footage’ since we will go to cameras that are hidden or on someone. Jess has a pin as well as in glasses that have one. The house that Tom invites her back does as well. This adds a sense of realism that I enjoyed. There aren’t a lot in the way of effects, but it also doesn’t need them. The soundtrack was solid fine. It didn’t necessarily stand out or take me away from what I was seeing.
In conclusion, this is a solid movie for what they’re conveying. It wouldn’t work if the performances from Barker and Cook weren’t good. I think they play well off each other. The story gives an interesting look at social media, recording and how far people will go to be famous. It also a relevant look at ignoring red flags. This is a well-made to go along with that. Not everyone will consider this horror, but I think it is close enough to include here. I would also recommend giving this at least a viewing.
My Rating: 7 out of 10