Mike is a famous influencer on social media. He is known for recording his fun live streams relating to horror stories with his username @dropthemike. Mike is offered a massive sponsorship from a clothing label known as Haute Gothic on one condition; he reaches 50,000 followers. He agrees to the terms, and if successful, he will receive $250,000 in sponsorship. Mike decides to do something radical to gain the large sponsor.
Instead of doing something boring like going on a holiday with friends or pulling pranks, Mike decides he and a film crew will stay at one of the most haunted hotels within America hoping to gain his biggest audience during a live stream. But as they begin the stay, Mike and his team discover there is more to this hotel than expected. Together they will learn more about the hotel’s dark past and its connection to evil. No matter what happens, Mike is determined to finish the live stream and gain internet fame.
The film begins with a fascinating mystery. We see a mysterious person working on a computer and re-watching several videos featuring @dropthemike. From time to time the film will return to the mysterious figure as he watches different clips and timelines, all of which occurred at the haunted hotel. But critical questions are introduced, such as ‘who is this person on the computer?’ ‘And what even happened to Mike?’ The opening is pleasing, and I enjoyed the film’s mysteries and setup.
When it comes to characters, I hate to say it, but Mike was poorly written. He is an influencer who is over the top even when the camera is not recording on him. Throughout the film, the character makes unwise choices, and at times I wished the movie followed the side characters who were making wiser decisions. By the third act, his character wasn’t someone I was overly fond of, but granted, the film’s mysteries did hold my attention as I wanted to know the endings to the twists introduced at the start.
While the film’s opening and mysteries were great to see, the film’s significant reveals are predictable and even questionable. Sadly, not everything is clear either, and it is up to audiences to make their own opinion in certain areas. The ending also feels rushed and unsatisfying, considering the big journey the audience shares with Mike in the haunted hotel.
Overall, it is not the first time we have seen a found-footage horror film about a social media influencer. While some of the film’s beats may seem new, I cannot deny that many moments felt familiar when compared to other horror movies before it. The film’s opening is pleasing with its mysteries and setup, but its ending reveals are more questionable than exciting. The leading character is also doubtful, continually makes unwise choices and appears far over the top and cliche. It is relatively risky, and it’s an odd choice to have this type of character leading in a horror film. Either way, those seeking a new horror regarding social media or found footage will find a few elements here positive.
Followed (2018) is Available on DVD from March 3rd!