Influencer is a horror movie. You know this because it’s the last of Kurtis David Harder, whose credits include being a producer on V/H/S/94and because you will find it streaming on Frisson. Moreover, its opening shot reveals a remote tropical island with a body face down on the beach. So you have an idea of what you are getting yourself into. But Influencer is also one of those films that reward get in as unconscious as possible.
Spoilers of the week | June 3
So fear not: no plot spoilers here. After this strange intro, we meet Madison (Emily Tennant, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency), who is alone on vacation at a luxury resort in Thailand. She puts on a sparkling show of selfies highlighted with inspirational wisdom for her Instagram followers, but secretly curses her boyfriend, Ryan (Rory J. Saper), for ditching the trip at the last minute. When the mysterious CW (Cassandra Naud, See) rushes to save Madison from another guest at the hotel bar, Madison is thrilled to meet a friend about her age who is an experienced traveler and knows all the local spots, and not just because of the opportunities to social media content. The truth is Madison is bored and lonely, and has started to question her career path as well as her relationship.
Just when you think you know where Influencer goes, he pulls a switcheroo, playing in tropes (yes, there’s a ‘no cell service’ moment) while getting on your nerves when you realize you have no idea what’s going to happen next . Even the opening credits, which appear surprisingly late in the first act, will surprise you. Like the film itself, numerous performances in Influencer surprising layer of depth beneath deliberately shallow first impressions. But best of all is the way the film mixes its very 2023 social media themes (including the distorted sense of self that being too online can create – and the insidious ways technology can be used to shape perceptions of reality) in a biting holiday horror film . It won’t make you want to avoid new experiences, but it could definitely make you think about leaving your phone turned off.
Influencer arrives May 26 on Shudder.
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