While struggling on a solo backpacking trip in Thailand, social media influencer Madison meets CW, who travels with ease and shows her a more uninhibited way of living, but CW’s interest in her takes a darker turn.
The Influencer was written and directed by Kurtis David Harder and stars the talents of Cassandra Naud, Emily Tennant, Rory J. Saper, and Sara Canning. The film is a not-so-veiled commentary on the culture of social media influencers and how they misrepresent reality. This film, however, delivers its message through a far more violent story than one initially suspects.
The Influencer follows Madison (Tennant) as she trudges seemingly disgruntled around the beautiful yet empty and lifeless mansions of the needlessly wealthy; snapping photos and filming cringy videos that make us feel almost sorry for her artificial personality.
On the verge of realizing the pointlessness of her existence, Madison meets CW(Naud), a carefree ex-pat that seems to be her opposite in every way. Together, the pair embark on an adventure spanning islands as CW teaches Madison the ways of the locals—giving her the true Thailand experience and teaching her to dig deep and find the parts of herself she seems to have lost.
And then…well…then things turn very dark, very quickly. The Influencer doesn’t stop its lessons on what is real and what is fake but rather takes that moral lesson to a deeper level, showing that the masks that we wear are only skin deep and those fake personas are easily mimicked, replicated, and replaced. The cast of characters grows as things start to get a little more complicated for CW and the games that she likes to play; games that involve a little more than a shutter click here and there.
Films like The Influencer are a dime a dozen. A new trend becomes mainstream, someone comes up with a clever, punny title and a half-baked script and a few months later we get a cookie-cutter horror film that is mediocre at best. Fortunately, this is not the case with The Influencer. Yes, it’s a horror based on social media personas. Yes, it’s formulaic and oftentimes predictable…but the difference here is that this is actually rather good.
The cinematography is gorgeous and the settings and scenery are absolutely wonderful. The editing is clever and the visual aesthetics are a delight. Naud, Tennant, and later Saper and Canning all excel in their roles, though I’d have to say that Naud definitely carries the film, having to switch personas and characters multiple times while the rest of the cast get to play mostly vapid, self-indulged, egotistical internet “celebrities.”
The story, while definitely not a new concept by any means, was made fresh by viewing it through the lens of the social media celeb. The pacing never felt forced nor did it slow down, having to juggle a few characters and their varied interactions. Overall, it was definitely an enjoyable watch—and this coming from someone who has maybe two posts on Instagram (both horror related).
The Influencer will be coming to Shudder.com this Friday, the 26th of May. Be sure to watch the trailer below and give it a watch. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.