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Going Viral: Unmasking the Director & Stars of the Gripping Social Media Thriller 'Follow Her'

Image courtesy of Quiver Distribution

By Josh Taylor

“We live in a world where social media is a go-to thing for a huge number of people. I don't think it's going away anytime soon. So we all have to kind of figure it out together.” Those words are from director Sylvia Caminer, as she and the stars of the film talked with Creepy Kingdom about her new film FOLLOW HER. It’s a film about a young woman named Jess (Dani Barker) who uses social media to gain fame by putting men in the unfortunate position of being live-streamed without their permission. She does this by answering various gig ads online. One of those ads that she answers takes her to Tom (Luke Cook, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) as he is looking to write a script with a partner. Unfortunately, not all is what it seems for both Tom and Jess. Each has to navigate the other and be quick-witted and manipulative in order to get what they want in this thriller. FOLLOW HER limits it’s cast to mostly following Jess and Tom as they meet, talk, and try to win the other over. Unlike a romantic comedy, the motivations of both characters are selfish and a bit frightening. On the topic of the film being focused on this relationship Luke Cook stated, “There had to be a charm to Tom to win some trust from Jess, and naturally, there had to be some conflict, or there’s no movie. That’s why it was so important to have Sylvia Caminer at the helm, a woman's eye overseeing the relationships as a whole.”

Image courtesy of Quiver Distribution

Of course, the film isn’t just directed by a woman, but it was also written by Dani Barker and both Caminer and Barker serve as producers. Barker, who once created and starred in her own web series online (Starvival) noted that her experience with creating content for the internet influenced FOLLOW HER. “I check views. And I hate that I do, but it’s more so to see what takes off and what makes an impact. I don’t spend too much time on social media and I’m grateful for that but I can get sucked into the vortex sometimes for a solid 10 minutes until I realize I’ve been doing absolutely nothing except comparing myself to everyone else in the world.”

The landscape of the world has changed since the turn of the 21st century. We used to all be fairly disconnected, going about our daily lives not checking in with anyone, but FOLLOW HER is a showcase of what the world is like and who we are now. While there are positives that come with having a computer in your pocket, there are also some serious negatives and FOLLOW HER is a film that is exploring those negatives. When discussing the idea of someone literally following her Barker had this to say, “I’m reasonably careful myself, I always have been. Often not posting pictures until after I’ve left that location so as to not directly share my whereabouts with the world. I think maintaining privacy is important for our sanity.” While Barker is maintaining her privacy, her on-screen character Jess is doing the exact opposite, doing a tightrope act by balancing her safety with making money. While Jess seems relatable to many, Barker joked that her character isn’t anyone she’d hang out with. “It was a challenge to craft this character to make her feel real and likable enough that we want to go on the journey with her. Not an easy task as I find many influencers really annoying.”

Image courtesy of Quiver Distribution

Jess isn’t just an annoying influencer though, she’s got struggles and is much more relatable. Caminer chimed in stating “She needs success, she needs fame, but she’s also going to lose her apartment. She’s desperate to succeed and she’s trusting the process in hopes that she can turn out like her friend who’s doing well as an influencer.” While the movie is tense with scenes that pit Tom and Jess across from each other, whether that’s talking, romancing, or otherwise, there is also some levity from their performers, specifically Luke Cook. “Everything was scripted but every take included improvisation, so the structure of every scene stayed the same sprinkled with genius and hilarious lines by Luke Cook. I was reacting off of those, which always kept me on my toes and made the whole experience more fun,” said Barker.

Image courtesy of Quiver Distribution

“I definitely milked it,” joked Cook. FOLLOW HER has it’s moments of cutting tension, but make no mistake that this thriller will leave you thinking about how you engage with the things you see online, whether you are the one creating or merely the one viewing. The culture around social media is unforgiving and FOLLOW HER is a film to remind you of that no matter where you sit on the subject. Wrapping up, Luke Cook said, “The internet's vengeance is cruel. They love seeing people being humiliated. It goes beyond just being held accountable, and this movie is about that.”

FOLLOW HER is now in theaters and available on VOD.


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