Like. Share. Follow
Garrett is a rising YouTube star. Shell is a deeply emotional fan. When they begin a romantic relationship, he's forced to question whether opening your life to strangers online is an invitation to community and rescue...or to stalking, obsession and madness.
Now you might think that this bit of trivia about me applies to the story/situation behind the new thriller Like. Share. Follow. – which follows a YouTube star with 2 million subscribers – and how one of his fans/followers becomes obsessed and stalks him.
You’re thinking, “I know why Klug is bringing this up. It’s because the lead character in this film doesn’t have his gift for reading people and immediately weeding out the crazies – thus the character is thrown into this wacky situation.”
But in fact, that first paragraph will be used to illustrate that I also have that same accuracy of “reading” someone, when it’s a something. In this case, a film. I can tell within minutes, if not seconds – whether a film I’m reviewing is going to be good.
Case in point: Like. Share. Follow. which was an official selection at the 17th Annual Screamfest in Hollywood.
I knew within less than a minute that I didn’t like the lead character and I certainly didn’t like the actor portraying the lead character. And if this dude was our entry into the world of the film – this piece was in big trouble.
Was I ever corrected as this film went on? No. No I was not.
It’s the story of YouTuber Garrett (played by The Flash’s Keiynan Lonsdale) who engages multiple times daily with this 2 million followers. He keeps a respectable distance from his fans (“the rule”) but one day, while picking up his copious amounts of fan mail – he meets a lovely young woman named Shell (Ema Horvath from next year’s The Gallows 2). When it becomes apparent that Shell is a complete psycho, Garrett must battle for his life and career – eventually running away to hide in an old family cabin.
Sound intriguing? Well, it’s not.
I have never seen a film so devoid of suspense in my many years of watching films. Is that an overstatement? Perhaps so, in light of the fact that I just saw the film. But the post-screening, stinging pain is still so prominent in my memory.
The film pays homage to other stalker films like Misery and Fatal Attraction. And there’s a moment taken directly from Glenn Close’s legendary performance in Fatal Attraction. So much so, that when the scene started, I jokingly started to do the “Alex Forrest” scene of her repeatedly turning the lamp on/off. Two seconds later – when it became clear that this was what Like. Share. Follow. was doing – I raised my hands in disgust and pure exasperation.
Look. I love homages to films of the past – but in a bad film – it just cheapens these little tributes. It’s almost as if to say, “No. You’re not worthy of calling out to these cinematic classics.”
Lonsdale gives one of the worst lead performances I’ve seen in quite some time. There’s absolutely no conviction and no emotion presented here. It’s not all his fault, as the script is as light as a feather – offering little history for him (or anyone else for that matter). I didn’t believe one word uttered by this actor – and every moment of what should have been heightened emotion fell flat. I cared nothing about this character and in fact, at one point – was muttering under my breath, “Just die already”. I also turned to one of my friends and said, “He can’t even pace convincingly.”
Ema Horvath is not much better. She has a few good moments – but it was such a cliched performance as a whole – any promising reactions or line deliveries were swallowed up by the rest of the terrible acting work presented.
Veteran character actor Abraham Benrubi (ER) is the only beacon of shining hope when examining the performances here. He plays a typical police detective – inherent in stories of this ilk. And he does his best with the terrible dialogue and 2-dimensional character he’s given. One wonders what someone of his caliber is doing in a mess like this.
On top of the terrible performances, the fact that the videos Garrett shows (which have garnered so many subscribers) are boring, stupid, unfunny and it makes no sense why this guy is so popular. The actor, his character and his on-line persona have no charisma – stunningly so.
You might give the benefit of the doubt that the filmmakers were making a statement about the perceived “millennial” stupidity – making a societal comment on the vapidness of things like the Kardashians and the idea that “everyone is a winner and everyone can be a star” regardless of talent.
But that’s just giving credit where credit is not due. There is nothing of substance here – and the film is as far away from smart as one could get.
As I’ve said in countless reviews before, the cardinal sin in Like. Share. Follow. (aside from everything else) is that the film’s dreadfully boring and horribly slow. I was checking my watch (one of the fifty times I did so during the film’s 90 minute run-time) – and even by the 30-minute mark… nothing had happened. There was no build and again – no suspense. It was cookie-cutter to begin with and not baked well enough to be remotely entertaining on its very own. So again – borrowing from better films did nothing to raise the film’s quality.
I will say one positive thing. When the on-line stalking reaches a fever-pitch and Shell posts a whiny, desperate video trying to get Garrett back – the hordes of reaction videos and videos of YouTuber’s making fun of her – were quite inspired and a lot of fun.
Terrible performances, uninspired dialogue and characters, zero suspense and a painfully slow pace make Like. Share. Follow. a massive waste of time.
Using the slew of so many “warning/don’t” horror films (Don’t Go in the Woods, Don’t Look Now, Don’t Open the Door) from the past forty years as inspiration – I’d like to change up the film’s title to perfectly illustrate my thoughts.
Don’t Like. Don’t Share. Don’t Follow.
Like. Share. Follow. is scheduled for wider release on October 31st, 2017.