Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fantastic Fest 2015 Review: FOLLOW

Director and Writer: Owen Egerton.
 Actors: Noah Segan, Haley Lu Richardson, Olivia Grace Applegate and Don Most.

Sometimes all it takes is for one thing to go wrong and your whole life can disintegrate around you. With first-time director Owen Egerton's Follow, we (pardon the pun) follow this idea to the most extreme. In what is a relatively small and intimate movie, it nevertheless is a stellar showcase of lead actor Noah Segan as the increasingly unhinged Quinn Woodhouse.

Quinn lives a pretty frustrated life as an artist trying to make a living off his art but works as a bartender to pay the bills. He lives with his girlfriend Thana (Applegate) who we see is a bit extreme. She is always talking about staying together and Quinn following her wherever she goes all with a devilish grin, hinting at something darker.

A few days before Christmas, Thana surprises Quinn with a very messed up gift and after he passes out, he finds himself with a dead girlfriend, no memory of what happened and now must figure out what to do with the body.

This is really a descent into madness for one man and clocking in at a lean 74 minutes, the movie wastes no time in setting up the premise and getting to the action. Even though we don't spend a lot of time with Quinn you get to really understand his character and while you definitely can't condone his actions they all make sense. Over the course of five days and increasingly bad decisions, we see a mild artist transformed into something completely.

The biggest joy of the movie is seeing Quinn's transformation. His gaze becomes increasingly manic, his demeanor grows a lot colder, and he becomes more sadistic as he tries to understand Thana's motivations and figuring out what she was really like. While this is definitely a dark movie, there's also a lot of humor that comes from Quinn not knowing what the hell to do which helps break up the tone of the movie.

While this is a mostly one-man act, the leading ladies are mesmerizing, and it will be exciting to see them in other movies in the future. Haley Lou Richardson plays Viv, Quinn's co-worker at the bar, who has got a crush on him, and she is so cute and charming. Applegate plays Thana so perfectly. From the first scene, you know something is not quite right with her but you can't put your finger on it.

If there was a big complaint is that Thana's motivation and character could have been fleshed out more. Given that she is the instigator of the plot, it feels important to get a better grip on her. The various flashbacks paint a clearer picture but it never feels enough.

Coming from a first time director, Follow feels very confident in its direction and storyline and it makes an impressive showcase for its lead actor.


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