FOLLOWERS (2021) Reviews of haunted house horror

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‘But at what cost?’
Followers is a 2021 British horror film about a struggling social media influencer who discovers the house he shares is haunted. The ghost brings him and his friends fame and fortune, but with deadly consequences.

Written and directed by Marcus Harben making his feature film debut. Produced by Giles Alderson, Stephen Jarvis and Tracy Jarvis.

Parkhouse Pictures production stars Harry Jarvis, Loreece Harrison, Nina Wadia, Erin Austen, Daniel Cahill, Tanya Burr and Ella Jarvis.

Our review:
The problem with all movies about social media influencers – even when they are presenting them as reprehensible – is that they have to show how shallow and obnoxious they are. Followers does that and self-obsessed, narcissistic lead character Jonty and his moronic fans are thoroughly insufferable. Which, naturally, makes the movie a tough watch initially. How many selfies can these airheads take?

That said if you can stomach Jonty and his housemates’ annoying antics the twisty plot eventually develops in an odd and somewhat darkly amusing manner. Fans of Nina Wadia will love the way this goes.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA

MOVIES and MANIA rating:

Other reviews:
“The cast is believable, if at first annoying, and it carries the film forward but as the film’s (very well executed) moments of horror and more adult themes come into play, it’s a very jarring experience. The addition of Nina Wadia only grounds the film into daytime TV even further as a caring mother figure to the young housemates.” Bloodguts UK

“While its finale may feel slightly bonkers, Followers is consistently brilliant; it doesn’t need an extensive budget or lavish CGI to make its mark. Instead, it bathes in the classic power of storytelling and performance, adding in some truly genius twists and turns along the way. At times scary, while humorous and always engaging, Harbe’s movie is an absolute joy.” Cinerama Online

” …this undercooked satirical horror isn’t current, funny, or scary enough to really work. Despite a solid cast and some interesting ideas, Followers runs out of steam long before it ends, and therefore might’ve been more effective as a short-form project.” Flickering Myth

“Harben clearly put some thought into the final twist, but it mostly only works on the horror front, and doesn’t really have much to do with the previous commentary on self-obsession. Jarvis is capably obnoxious as Jonty, but he is a bit generic as a creation; not quite the great influencer-monster cinema is crying out for.” The Guardian

“While its scare sequences aren’t particularly innovative, Harben’s mixed social media approach to found footage keeps things lively and entertaining. Surprisingly, it’s the socials that feel less authentic – cheap imitations of the usual platforms and vaguely fake talking heads […] Harben could have sat back, farming the hate-clicks and streams, but there’s a solid supernatural horror flick underpinning all the online affectations.” 3/5 Horror DNA

Followers is a fresh and exciting installment to the found footage subgenre. It is full of some great kills, some wild scares, and many interesting concepts to the paranormal subgenre that I don’t think I have seen done before. Without spoiling, there is an integration of a cassette tape at one point, and it feels so incredibly new.” Horror Obsessive

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“This is as much a mystery as a spook story – it has a couple of creepy moments and scares, but the plot turns out to be more complex than usual, leading to a finale with revelations and stand-offs and perhaps one twist too many.  Few films have solved the problem of making us really care about imperilled influencers […] and this doesn’t really try to suggest that the protagonist has an inner pain worth exploring.” The Kim Newman Website

“The editing, props and visuals are well done, but this is no Avatar when it comes to presenting things that are not real. At times the film does look and feel like a cross between a Most Haunted spoof and an episode of Hollyoaks. There’s effort on show but just not enough originality with a topic and genre mish-mash that has recently been so overcooked.” Lost Woods

“Considering its horror-roots, it’s a shame the ghostly elements fail to quicken the pulse. No matter how many people drop by to deliver exposition, these aspects feel undercooked compared to the examination of people’s relationships with social media and how they present themselves online; making this, in that regard at least, a less effective version of FrightFest 2019 hit, Death of a Vlogger.” 2/5 Moving Pictures Film Club

“It’s clearly made for the ADHD generation, and credit to the cast and crew for playing the game so well. Characters we think will annoy us for the duration because of the stereotypes actually don’t. Yes, at times they are glorified cartoon characters, but the fact I was hooked for 90% of the movie is testament to its success.” 7.7 On: Yorkshire

“Like Caryn Waechter’s DeadCon (2019), Followers locates a haunted space between real and online worlds, where communications are remote, where image is empty, and where the fragile and the forgotten can readily be ghosted. Marcus Harben’s feature debut is, ultimately, a ghost story in which lost souls keep trying to maintain their mediated ‘influence’ from beyond the grave.” Projected Figures

“When the haunting side of the story starts, there are a couple of scares that work, and the conclusion brings some surprises. It’s the satire of online life that makes Followers interesting, though. Jonty is the worst type of person, but he’s a product of the time and bolstered by a viewing public keen to live vicariously through others.” 3/5 Starburst

YouTube reviews:

Trailer:

Release:
Followers had its world premiere at the 2021 Arrow Video FrightFest in London on August 27th.

Followers was released in UK cinemas by Screenbound Pictures/Blue Dolphin Films on 18th March 2022.

Technical details:
1 hour 23 minutes

Working title:
Cassette

Notes:
Not to be confused with many other films also called Followers such as the 2017 horror film directed by Ryan Justice which is also about a social media influencer.

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