Influencer overview: a cutthroat social thriller

Madison and CW ride on a boat together in Influencer.

“Cassandra Naud steals the present in Influencer, the brand new sharply centered, lethal enjoyable thriller from director Kurtis David More durable.”


  • Cassandra Naud’s star-making lead efficiency
  • A subversive, unpredictable screenplay
  • A surprising, game-changing first-act twist


  • A 3rd-act that will get a bit too twisty for its personal good
  • An underdeveloped romantic subplot

Influencer isn’t what you assume it’s. The brand new Shudder unique from director and co-writer Kurtis David More durable is a cutthroat, contained thriller that takes the perverse slasher method of a Brian De Palma basic like Dressed to Kill and updates it for our present social media age. The result’s a movie that’s each bit as crude and mean-spirited as its influences, however much more apparently structured and sharply centered than its all-too-familiar, trip-abroad-gone-wrong premise could lead you to consider.

Anchored by one mesmerizing, probably star-making efficiency, Influencer could not make very many new factors in regards to the unstated artificiality of a social media star’s life, but it surely does persistently subvert its viewers’ expectations in methods which are typically thrilling to witness. What’s much more spectacular is how the movie’s numerous twists and sudden left turns — of which there are numerous — are offered. Influencer’s story doesn’t a lot speed up or ramp up because it regularly unfolds.

Over the course of its 91-minute runtime, the movie slowly however absolutely submerges viewers deeper and deeper beneath its layers of deception, impersonation, and, after all, homicide. It doesn’t come as a lot of a shock then when the movie’s third act options an underwater brawl that looks like an inevitable beat for a thriller that’s as murky and harmful as Influencer.

Emily Tennant stands in a doorway in Influencer.

Whereas the movie leaves the precise identification of its eponymous “influencer” as much as interpretation, its plot, for all intents and functions, revolves round Madison (Emily Tennant), a profitable however lonely social media star. When Influencer begins, Madison is within the midst of an unfulfilling, remoted journey to Thailand that she was satisfied to take by her formidable, social media-obsessed boyfriend, Ryan (Rory J. Saper). Her journey seemingly takes a flip for the higher when she crosses paths one night time with CW (Cassandra Naud), a mysterious lady who affords to indicate her some options to the vacationer lure spots which have consumed most of her journey.

It shouldn’t be thought-about a spoiler to say that CW’s curiosity in Madison isn’t almost as pure as she makes it out to be. To say far more about the place Influencer goes from there would, nevertheless, spoil among the best features of the thriller, which mines most of its leisure worth out of its unpredictable story and construction. At first, Influencer could not appear all that unconventional or daring, however that each one begins to alter as soon as its credit lastly roll across the movie’s 26-minute mark.

An surprising first-act flip pushes you headfirst into the movie’s twist-laden center part, which grows more and more complicated, convoluted, and lethal the additional into its personal internet of lies Influencer will get. By the point Saper’s Ryan exhibits up in Thailand seeking to patch issues up with Madison, the movie’s script by More durable and Tesh Guttikonda has already arrange loads of prospects for bloodshed. Whereas Influencer positively isn’t afraid to confront the violence brimming beneath the floor of its story, the movie normally arrives at its bodily confrontations in methods which are both surprising, tragic, or an acid-tinged mixture of each.

Cassandra Naud looks at a phone screen in Influencer.

On the heart of the entire movie’s twists is Naud’s CW, who performs a extra energetic position in Influencer’s story than any of its different characters. With the burden of that accountability on her shoulders, Naud turns in a beguiling, scene-stealing efficiency as CW, a personality whose unpredictability injects Influencer with a much-needed dose of hazard. More durable, for his half, properly lets a number of key moments in Influencer play out totally on Naud’s face. The actress, in flip, makes watching CW impulsively react to sure surprising developments simply as entertaining as watching her perform one among her fastidiously calibrated plans.

Whether or not or not Naud will get the possibility to tackle extra lead roles sooner or later will possible rely on how a lot consideration Influencer will get, however the actress actually proves herself able to dealing with even essentially the most ambiguous of characters right here. Her efficiency enhances each the temper and murkiness on the heart of Influencer’s Russian doll-esque narrative, which helps make up for the truth that the movie doesn’t take its concepts in regards to the falseness of 1’s on-line identification so far as it may.

More durable and Guttikonda do pack in just a few reducing jabs on the methods by which an individual’s on-line following can each inflate their ego and assist them keep away from the loneliness of life. Nonetheless, Influencer doesn’t finally have all that a lot to say in regards to the toxicity of those that can’t flip their telephones off or those that resent them for his or her on-line addictions. That’s made evident by the movie’s twisty third act, which is, very similar to the remainder of Influencer, genuinely shocking, but in addition a bit too tidy and cute for its personal good.

Emily Tennant takes a selfie near a pool in Influencer.

What Influencer lacks in thematic depth it greater than makes up for in pure leisure worth. The movie is a shocking, delightfully subversive thriller that’s greatest seen with as little prior information about its plot as potential. There’s extra happening in it than there initially seems, which is becoming for a movie that’s solely desirous about what could lurk simply past the sides of every of its characters’ fastidiously cropped Instagram posts.

Influencer is now out there to stream solely on Shudder.

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