Drop the Mike host…Mike (Matthew Solomon)…I mean what did you expect the dude’s name to be, Aloysius? Anyway, Mike is an annoying vlogger (which is as redundant as saying “wet rain”) who in a desperate grab for the almighty sponsorship dollar decides to spend the night in a hotel with a haunted past, along with his crew. As they settle in, they begin to learn of the sinister secrets that lie within the dread dwelling (including a complete rip-off of the true life case of Elisa Lam). Soon things go completely off the rails as our heroes are subjected to an ever growing preternatural presence that may prove their undoing!
On the one hand, Followed has a strong, if well tread, premise…the haunted hotel is a horror trope for a reason; it works! This film does a good job of building the mythology of the place, which adds to the overall sense of world building…which is absolutely essential as this is a found footage fright flick. Yup, we are supposed to believe these events really happened, and all is presented as a series of vlogs by Mike being watched by an unknown individual on a laptop. I enjoyed that conceit and felt it added a nice bit of ambiance to the affair. Also to the film’s credit, there is a well paced ramp up to the terror at hand, and it grows exponentially over the film’s ninety six minute run time.
On the negative side; Mike is one hell of an irritating protagonist…and yes, I realize that is completely intentional…but, it may turn some viewers off; though it must be said, as things get more and more dire, the filmmakers do a good job of making us actually care about M-dawg, so kudos on that one! also, if you are sick to your shit with the ol’ found footage bag, this one isn’t going to convert you as it trades in the cellphone/video cam antics for the de rigueur conceit of computer screen based terror tales. Also, there is a reliance on jump scares, and depending on your opinion of those your mileage may vary boils n’ ghouls.
In short; Followed is a fun fright filled found footage flick that doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but rather tells a solid tale of the supernatural while creating a believable reality with characters you grow to care about…and that’s no small feat in itself!