I didn’t think I was going to love Followed, but I was in the mood for some undemanding, found footage, horror. As much as it can lead to some of the worst of the genre, it can also provide a number of easy and entertaining scares. Followed has some easy and entertaining scares, I suppose I should say that before I get too distracted with my criticism of it, but they aren’t good enough to make up for the laziness, and poor taste, of the main idea. And I say this as someone who can enjoy superior tasteless fare with the best of them.
The story revolves around a vlogger named Mike (Matthew Solomon) who decides to visit the infamous, and allegedly haunted, Lennox Hotel. Mike and his colleagues will check out the whole hotel, but they will focus on emulating the last moments of Meghan Kim, last seen acting very odd in an elevator.
Do you see what I mean already about laziness and poor taste? Yes, Followed is a horror movie that basically wants to recreate everything you have probably already heard about Elisa Lam and the Cecil Hotel. Which might not seem that bad if that story still lacked an explanation, still had the full mystery surrounding it, but those who have fully explored that case without wearing a tinfoil hat, or desperately shoehorning their own theories into the actual events, will know that what happened was actually a very sad and tragic accident, undoubtedly caused by some mental health issues. The story of Elisa Lam was intriguing, and I am sure it will crop up again and again in the years to come as younger people stumble across that bizarre elevator footage, but then it was explained. The intrigue is gone. All that leaves is footage of someone stressed and ill.
Considering what actually happened with the Elisa Lam case, and the nauseating comments from people who would visit the hotel and somehow think they could feel a connection to her, I am not entirely against something being created that skewers those armchair detectives and conspiracy theorists who travelled to the hotel and made vlogs about their time there. It would have to be a lot better than this though.
Writer Todd Klick (as good a surname as any if you are going to write a film about a vlogger looking to boost traffic and subscriber numbers) doesn’t do anything clever with the concept, adding details that are as groan-inducing as they are unnecessary. I will admit that the final scene is an attempt at a decent “punchline”, but it is too little too late. Director Antoine Le sets up a couple of fun scares throughout, but he loses his way whenever it is time to flesh out any characters or keep propelling the plot along. This isn’t a long film, just over an hour and a half, but the first half really drags in between those infrequent scares.
The cast are okay, I guess. Solomon is joined by Tim Drier, Sam Valentine, and Caitlin Grace, his little movie crew, but they struggle to overcome the weak script. Kelsey Griswold, Christopher Ross Martin, and John Savage play other key characters, and are equally hampered by the script, and poor Sarah Chang ends up playing the part of Elisa . . . I mean Meghan Kim.
If this had been written better, and that would include more memorable characters and a healthy sense of disdain for them, then this could have been worthwhile. It could have been easier to forgive the feeling of it being a squalid little “cash-in”. It isn’t though. It is a weak script with weak presentation. Just watch a documentary on the Cecil Hotel instead.
If you have enjoyed this, or any other, review on the blog then do consider the following ways to show your appreciation. A subscription/follow costs nothing.
It also costs nothing to like/subscribe to the YouTube channel attached to the podcast I am part of - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCErkxBO0xds5qd_rhjFgDmA
Or you may have a couple of quid to throw at me, in Ko-fi form - https://ko-fi.com/kevinmatthews