Owen Egerton’s feature-length directorial debut Follow had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX this weekend to a lukewarm reception, and it disappoints me to say that I share that sentiment as Follow was one of the films I was most looking forward to at the festival.
Quinn (Noah Segan, Deadgirl, Starry Eyes) and Thana (Olivia Grace Applegate) have been in a relationship for a while and five days before Christmas, she gives him a handgun as a Christmas present. Next thing you know, Thana is dead and Quinn slowly begins to go insane, pulling a Weekend at Bernie’s with her body as the film trucks along, counting down the five days before Christmas. There is a subplot with Quinn’s coworker Viv (Haley Lu Richardson, who harbors romantic feelings for Quinn, which of course causes problems later.
Even at an extremely brief 74 minutes, the film still feels about five minutes too long. It’s a slow burn, but Quinn isn’t a relatable character whatsoever. We spend the majority of the film watching him look sad, worried and shocked over Thana’s body, but that’s about it. Segan does fine work as Quinn, but the script doesn’t give him much to work with. Applegate does serviceable work as a corpse, though there are several moments where you can clearly see her breathing. That may have been intentional as a symptom of Quinn’s insanity, but it looked sloppy.
Richardson is the saving grace of the film, even though she isn’t given much to do until the final act of the film. She’s a dead ringer for Hailee Steinfeld (who was also in The Keeping Room, which also had its U.S. premiere at Fantastic Fest this week) and is the only likable and relatable character in the film.
In his feature-length directorial debut, Egerton does a really good job. There are plenty of nifty shots, and the film is visually attractive, but it is the script where he falls short. Character actions aren’t the most believable. Quinn is also written as kind of a weasel, making him rather unlikable.
Follow is one of the more disappointing selections at Fantastic Fest this year, if only because it’s so forgettable. The film fails to make much of an impression, being neither terrible nor particularly good. Sometimes mediocrity is the worst offense a film can make.