Monday 22 May 2023

Horror Film Review: Influencer (2022) ★★★★★ - A Shudder Original

I love films that surprise me, where the journey is completely unexpected and not entirely spoiled by the trailer. You might think you know what Kurtis David Harder's Shudder Original Influencer is about but it's so much more fun than you expect.

Influencer (2022) poster | Shudder Original | Horror Film Review

Californian influencer Madison (Emily Tennant) is on a solo trip to Thailand. It wasn't meant to be a solo trip but her boyfriend Ryan (Rory J. Saper) dropped out the last minute. It doesn't take long for local expats and hotel guests to notice that Madison is alone, and she soon finds herself the target of unwanted attention. Enter CW (Cassandra Naud, Snowpiercer): enigmatic and care-free, CW shows Madison how to really let go of her insecurities and enjoy the beautiful country around her.

When Madison's room is broken into and her passport stolen, Madison realises she will need to spend weeks more time in the country before her passport can be reissued. CW offers Madison a place to stay with her and Madison begrudgingly accepts, not wanting to be a burden. What can possibly go wrong?

Be careful who you follow

In the tense and chilling scenes that follow, we learn that you can't always trust what you see online and that there will always be people who want a piece of the influencer bubble.

Besides, when you have millions of followers, people will definitely notice when you're gone, right?

Influencer is a very clever film and offers multiple twists and turns, with new characters popping up and muddying the waters for our cunning antagonist. There is an appearance from mega-influencer Jessica (Sara Canning), who surely isn't as naive as Madison, and a surprise arrival that threatens to derail the entire plan.

Cassandra Naud as CW in Kurtis David Harder’s INFLUENCER

I love a well-written baddie and Influencer definitely delivers. CW is creepy and cunning, with a long game that is as terrifying as she is evil. As a frequent traveller myself, Influencer was the epitome of horror: unwanted attention, over-friendly travellers, imposing people, my room being broken into. That's all nothing compared to what CW dreams up for her victims.

Of course, my wanderlust was definitely piqued by Influencer which features some exquisite locations and luxury villas. Surprisingly, for a film set in Thailand, you see criminally little of Thailand itself and that shows the shallow lens of the influencer, how little they actual enjoy of the world around them.

I enjoyed every minute of Influencer and enjoyed falling victim to the twists. Cassandra Naud was superb as CW and she's definitely on my list of young actors to watch. Emily Tennant, Rory J. Saper and Sara Canning also deliver excellent performances and you'll be wondering to the end who the real star of this film is.

Sara Canning as Jessica and Cassandra Naud as CW in Kurtis David Harder’s INFLUENCER
I give Influencer an excellent five out of five stars and recommend to horror and Shudder fans, especially of the rising influencer genre. After his success with Shudder original Spiral and now this, I'm definitely keen on seeing what Kurtis David Harder does next.

A Shudder Original, Influencer premieres on Friday 26 May. Streaming Exclusively on Shudder and AMC+

Influencer (2022) Trailer, dir Kurtis David Harder


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