Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Brooklyn Horror ’22: Influencer

Sure, online influencers are shallow and talentless, but killing them still seems a little harsh. Tiktokkers on the other hand, should definitely be fair game. So far, Madison only pretends to enjoy her first-class vacation in Thailand when she posts for the sponsors who paid for it. However, things start to pick up when she meets CW, but her new “friend” bears watching in Kurtis David Harder’s Influencer, which had its world premiere at the 2022 Brooklyn Horror Film Festival.

Madison has been fighting with her boyfriend Ryan, who has been the brains (such as they are) behind her influencer career. He is a little controlling, but she clearly has no idea how to enjoy the freedom now at her fingertips. A chance meeting with CW changes all that. Suddenly, she is going to all the cool, off-the-beaten-path places and staying at CW’s fab pad out in the jungle.

Unfortunately, CW is not exactly who she presents herself to be. She also has a habit of targeting influencer airheads. She is a careful planner and a brilliant improvisor, but this time things do not go exactly the way she anticipates during the course of the film.

is a clever horror-tinged-thriller that is sort of like the original Dutch The Vanishing for the social media generation. You can even see the influence (so to speak) of a Hitchcock classic, but Harder and co-screenwriter Tesh Guttikonda give that twist a further twist.

Of course, the Thai setting definitely puts experienced genre viewers on their guard, since nothing good ever comes from Thai vacations in movies or TV, like in
The Flight Attendant, “’V’ for Vacation” in ABCs of Death 2, Death of Me, or dozens of other examples.

Cassandra Naud is darned chilling as CW and Emily Tennant convincingly portrays Madison as a bit more together twentysomething than viewers might initially assume. Sara Canning is also really terrific as CW’s next potential target. Thanks to the three of them, the tone of
Influencer never descends into the territory of a mediocre CW-network production.

Influencer makes Thailand look like a lovely place to visit, but you might want to book a tour and try your best to stick with the group. Thai thesp Vithaya Pansringarm is also strangely absent, so do not expect him to pop-up as an authority figure. He always livens-up a film, but Harder manages to get the job done without him. Recommended as a rather crafty serial killer thriller, Influencer premiered at this year’s Brooklyn Horror Film Festival.