Review by Cole Groth
Follow Her starts out as an average social media-based psychological thriller, but over the course of its 92-minute runtime, it takes twists and turns that ultimately add up to one hard-to-follow movie that’s about as confusing as it is interesting. With a script penned by Dani Barker and direction from Sylvia Caminer, there are plenty of exciting moments focusing on increasingly common parasocial relationships, and with an erotic twist, this’ll satisfy moviegoers looking for something unique.
Follow Her follows Jess (Dani Barker), a snarky streamer who secretly records oddball interactions (think Craigslist ads but creepier) with strangers on the internet. She’s looking to crack into the top ten on a generic streaming website since, to gain monetization, you have to stand on the podium for whatever reason. One day, she’s hired by a man (Luke Cook), who promises a hefty payday for her to help him complete a screenplay he’s been writing. Once she realizes that the script is about her life and that her character will be getting killed, she must find a way to get out with her life.
With an interesting enough premise, it’s nice that Barker’s script lives up to a lot of its potential. There are plenty of little moments that explore our relationship with social media that function beyond a surface level. The first two acts take plenty of twists and turns that are ambitious, to say the least. It’s a shame, though, that the last act couldn’t live up to the somewhat high standards set by the previous two.
The biggest issue with this sort of film is that it suffers from feeling inauthentic and rather annoying. Jess is a rather bothersome protagonist to follow, and while she properly encapsulates the energy of idiots who stream their entire lives, she doesn’t make for an interesting protagonist. We cut to outside viewers throughout the movie, a la The Truman Show, but these viewers aren’t quite realistic enough to feel like they’d actually be watching a girl stream herself being tortured, making their presence ultimately unnecessary.
From a technical perspective, this, unfortunately, isn’t very good. None of the actors give uniquely strong performances, but they aren’t bad by any means. The cinematography is dull, the editing is plain, and the music is unoriginal and mostly uninteresting. It all boils down to a conclusion that’s so frustratingly simple that it undermines everything set up earlier. Jess’s erratic actions throughout the film build up to what seems to be a unique ending, but without spoiling anything, I can only say that it’s the least exciting route possible to end a movie like this.
Follow Her has its shining moments and is still less annoying than most other social media thrillers. Unfortunately, it’s still a somewhat grating viewing experience that feels a bit too long and isn’t entertaining enough to hold the full attention of its viewers. The interesting premise deserves much more than the final product’s muddled mess.
Follow Her is now in theaters and on VOD.