Oh, another found footage feature. I have such a love/hate relationship with this style of film-making. Titles done in this style are either lazy and uninspired or some of the most frightening flicks out there. Unfortunately, 90% of found footage features fall into the first category. Drawn in by a fun and ghostly movie poster, The Follower surprised me by finding itself in the latter category by mirroring Paranormal Activity with a serial killer twist. Murders and specters? What more could you want? Written by Kévin Mendiboure and Vincent Darkman, The Follower centers around a popular internet vlogger named David who has a penchant for the macabre. Due to his infatuation with all things wacky and a growing virtual fan-base, David is asked to investigate a questionable mansion by a sheltered and eccentric young woman named Carol. Her home, and its surrounding property, has experienced supernatural occurrences recently, and she’d like to get to the bottom of the otherworldly phenomenon. The investigation starts simple and uneventful enough, but slowly the ghostly activity begins and ramps up to a disturbing level that’ll leave viewers questioning who or what is lurking in the darkness of this family home…and worse, can it leave?
Nicolas Shake, Chloe Dumas, Benjamin Polounovsky, Boris Anderssen Comar, Peter Lamarque, Paul Bandey and Sara Tekaya star in The Follower, the feature length directorial debut of Kévin Mendiboure. Although The Follower is a less exciting version of Paranormal Activity and contains all the typical pitfalls of paranormal investigating horror films, I do have to say its production value is top notch. The central locations – the house and the surrounding property – were worthwhile backdrops for such a ghostly title. There were literally dozens of spots where something evil could hide out of sight of the human eye or camcorder lens. And David’s man-cave, with walls plastered with horror film posters, will be the envy of every die-hard fan who watches this flick. Also, the performances from the lead and supporting actors were at a much higher caliber than I was expecting coming out of a found footage feature. The two leads, Shake and Dumas, did a wonderful job headlining this movie and taking me on a ride filled with mystery and suspense. And what’s great about this film is we’re actually able to see their performances because the lighting techs were working tirelessly for those crystal clear, perfect-looking night shots. This is one of the rare cases where style choice is not a representation of effort. Great job, everyone.
The Follower is smart, too, because it contains two very big plot twists and an unseen villain that defies definition until the film’s climax. I briefly referenced it above, and that’s all I’m going to mention about it as to avoid spoiling the movie. The Follower is currently available on demand via Terror Films, so you’ll have to check it out for yourself if you’d like a further explanation. I will say, though, that jumping between the causes for chaos kept me on my toes from start to finish. Was the haunting due to the grandma’s spirit, a door that Carol accidentally opened, the house itself being a spawn of Hell, or an entirely different source of contention all together? And why does it seem to be pointed directly at David now? I was on board with the plot and wanting to find out more, and that’s where The Follower succeeded where so many other found footage features fail. It has layers. The best way I can describe it is The Shining meets Paranormal Activity. Kévin Mendiboure also served as producer and editor, and together with cinematographer Harry Arnaud, they ended up crafting one of the better found footage features of 2017. I think I’d have to watch it a second time to understand everything, but it was still a pretty enjoyable viewing experience.
Final Score: 7 out of 10.