Incorporating social media into films—particularly horror genre ones—in an organic and fluid manner is tricky, but Stalker does so with panache. Tyler Savage’s Stalker is an unsettling film about the dual disconnection and intrusiveness of modern society. The riveting Vincent Van Horn stars as Andrew, a young man soothing his recent heartbreak by moving to Los Angeles. He still spends his nights scrolling through photographic memories with his ex-girlfriend Erin. Soon he meets the beguiling Sam (Christine Ko) at a bar and they connect over their failed relationships. Andrew’s world comes crashing down when he crosses paths with Roger, a lonely ride-share driver.
Michael Lee Joplin’s kinetic performance carries the film; he deftly balances the eerie charm of the psychopathic role without being too cartoonish. Roger develops an obsession with Andy and starts harassing him by threatening his adorable dog Juicebox, installing secret cameras, impersonating him on phone calls, and so much more. Savage, working from his script with Dash Hawkins, skillfully builds the tension as Roger’s grip on Andy’s life becomes increasingly stronger. Roger ends up running Andy’s job, relationships, and finances with the simple push of a button. The way Roger can destroy Andy’s life and assume his identity through technology with such ease is utterly terrifying.
Stalker features a clever twist ending that is best left as a surprise and sure to rattle viewers. Savage makes great use of the lower budget and small cast to craft an unsettling film about the power social media has in our lives. It is an incisive horror piece that handles its brutality and psychological menace with precision and makes you think twice about exposing yourself so intimately online.