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Monday, April 16, 2018

FOLLOWERS -- DVD Review by Porfle

B-movie (and Z-movie) makers of the past had to deal with the same technical stuff as the big-timers--namely, procuring expensive film to shoot on and running it through a big camera to be developed and edited together later in its physical form.  Shooting was expensive, and retakes were very few.

Nowadays, of course, shooting time is both limitless and pretty much inexpensive since anyone with a hankering to make a movie can just grab the nearest video device--including their own phones--and start recording away. 

And some, such as director Ryan Justice with his new horror-thriller flick FOLLOWERS (2017), make the act of doing that the very subject of their movie itself.

Long story short: social media stars Brooke (Amanda Delaney), who posts her popular yoga instructional videos, and her boyfriend Caleb (Justin Maina), whose fitness videos are equally well-viewed, decide to go on a camping trip during which Caleb plans to "pop the question" (a la EDEN LAKE).

Meanwhile, aspiring YouTube hopefuls Jake (Sean Michael Gloria) and Nick (Nishant Gogna) are stalking Brooke and Caleb with their own cameras, with plans to make a breakthrough documentary about how easy it is to track internet stars down from their online info and, theoretically, kill them. 

It's basically THE BLAIR DWEEB PROJECT, half the movie consisting of Brooke and Caleb hiking to their remote campsite (with nature-phobe Brooke being as annoying as possible), and the other half documenting Jake and Nick's creepy stalking of same down wooded paths until they stumble upon their tent. 

Save for a couple of fun stings here and there, such as unidentified figures fleeting by in the background of certain shots, the first half of FOLLOWERS is a trudge not unlike that long hike through the woods. We see it all through their own cameras as they all record their words and actions for editing and uploading as "like"-magnet videos.

Naturally, things will go way too far at a certain point--a point we're very grateful to finally reach after the slow and mostly uneventful buildup.  In its own totally unprepossessing, sorta slapdash way, FOLLOWERS manages to be both likably low-tech and somewhat intriguing.

We wonder who the heck are the masked attackers who suddenly invade Brooke and Caleb's campsite, wielding a gun. Have Nick and Jake flipped out? Is it the rowdy rednecks who earlier recognized the internet celebs at a truckstop and ran them off the road with their pickup?

Or is there something even more sinister going on in those woods, as indicated by those fleeting phantom figures we keeping seeing in the background?

If you make it throught the slow first half, FOLLOWERS evolves into a mildly absorbing little show despite (or maybe because of) an over-dependence on improvised dialogue and a look that still resembles somebody's home videos.  Anyway, I had fun watching it and I guess that counts for a lot.

Type: DVD
Running Time: 83 minutes
Genre: Thriller/Horror
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 Widescreen
Audio: 5.1 Surround Sound/2.0 Stereo
Bonus: 2 trailers


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