Fantaspoa 2022 Review: FOLLOW HER

Editor, News; Toronto, Canada (@Mack_SAnarchy)
Fantaspoa 2022 Review: FOLLOW HER
Jess aspires to be a social media star. Her specialty is roleplaying and kink videos. She is at odds with her father about how she’s trying to make a living as an influencer. See, her dad and her brother are lawyers. Her dad is also an artist. In his mind these are classic professions and past-times. Making a living as an influencer doesn’t seem viable to him so he threatens to cut her off which also means selling the lush apartment she lives in. 
Jess thinks her luck is about to change when her latest kink video is close to going viral; the video is getting so many hits that she has nearly cracked the top ten and she’ll start making money off of it. But, there is a problem. The face blurring software craps out for a moment and everyone can see her client’s face. Does she leave it up and make bank or take it down to protect her client’s identity?
While she makes that decision she finds an ad for a scriptwriting gig that will dish out a hefty sum of cash upon completion. Answering the ad she travels upstate and meets Tom. He’s a smooth-talking charmer from a land far away. After meeting him on neutral ground she agrees to go back with him to his place and help with his script. It’s there where his real purpose is discovered. 
The irony was not lost on me the moment I said, ‘Oh, hey. That’s Dani Baker! I followed her on such-and-such a platform’. I went into this viewing with as little information about it as possible so that was the first surprise. I’ve watched her hustle in updates and posts over the years and had lost track of the Canadian actor. With Follow Her she continues building her resume as an actor, writer and producer of Sylvia Caminar’s first feature film. 
The opening act does well to set up her character and the amount of hustle she has to do to retain followers and make her efforts profitable. The threat that she feels from her father about cutting her off. But really now, you’re an aspiring influencer and you have that kind of apartment in New York? You know there’s going to be a divide between a younger and older audience member depending on how they view Jess’ ‘conundrum’ and what they think of influencer culture.
Once at Tom’s remote home the psychological games of cat and mouse begins. As Tom starts playing coy with Jess, her frustration grows every moment. But she is motivated by the promise of quick cash and he’s appealing to her ego as an influencer. We also think that Jess believes that she can gain control of the escalating situation because of her ‘experiences’ as a social media dom. This is why our cries, ‘Why don’t you just get up and leave’, go unanswered while watching.
Follow Her has a middle act that should keep viewers guessing as dominance switches between one and the other over and over again. Things get interesting when the revelation of an unknown factor raises not only the stakes but also more questions. The end risks being slightly disappointing because Baker and Caminar have taken pages out of books written by the likes of Charlie Brooker and Sam Esmail. They were setting it up in the first act, with suspicious people lurking in the background and shots mimicking closed circuit and security footage. All of this is to establish an ominous air and raise the hairs on the back of our necks. 
But because showrunners like Brooker and Esmail have dabbled in themes like this before and objectively better Follow Her’s message risks coming across as causeless. Not long after the big finish between Jess and Tom goes out there for everyone to see, the end is where they preach their sermon about the risks and dangers of being an online presence and personality. You’re always being watched. When you’re online you are exposed. Someone can always access your personal information. You’re not safe. 
We of course believe that if we would never find ourselves in a similar situation to Jess during the middle act. We’d be okay because we know being online can be fraught with dangers, that there are predators out there looking to do harm to others. Like her, we think we have the know-how, the wherewithal, to stay out of trouble. At the very least we are subscribed to a very reliable VPN provider. 
But Follow Her is here to tell you that if you’re not careful trouble will find you like it found Jess.  
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Sylvia CaminerDani BarkerEliana JonesLuke CookMark MosesThriller

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