Stalker (2021) [Shriekfest 2021] 

Andy moves to Los Angeles after a bad breakup, then meets a cute girl in a bar who takes him home by way of rideshare. The driver finds his way into the same bar and they strike up a friendship in an attempt to not be lonely in LA. Soon after, Andy finds out he has a stalker who will stop at nothing to ruin his life. 

Written by Dash Hawkins and Tyler Savage with Savage directing, Stalker takes a familiar situation to make nowadays and turns it into a thriller/mystery as to how the lead will get out of this, will there be consequences for the stalker, and how badly will things go before the end of the film. The story here establishes comfort in Andy finding a place and making two new friends fairly fast in a difficult city. Then things start getting weird, then they get worse and worse, until things go really badly for him. The film takes the lead and increases the stress on him and the suspense for the viewer little by little until they both want things to just come a conclusion, at which time, things are not as they seem. The execution here is good, the film does well of bringing the stress of having a stalker to the viewer and makes the most of some truly disturbing moments without needing to escalate things to a ridiculous level. Keeping things on the believable side is what keeps this movie interesting and entertaining. 

The cast here is kept mostly small with every character revolving around the lead of Andy. Playing this lead is Vincent Van Horn who plays him with a good amount of realism and nuances. His work shows that imbuing a character with a good balance of hope and sadness, of niceness and not so niceness, giving them a personality that shows in their expressions, acting, and line delivery. He sells the movie here and does so very well. Playing the girl he meets in a bar, Sam, is Christine Ko who gives a great performance and steals a few scenes here and there along the way. She is fun to watch and really is one to keep an eye on. Playing the driver who picks them both up after they meet, Roger, is Michael Lee Joplin who does great at being a bit too eager to be friends and also coming off as a creep. His work here is layered and just right. 

This is a film that is interesting and looks good. The cinematography by Antonio Cisneros is just right for the film, giving the story and the characters the set-up and environment to evolve where they can be seen fully and properly framed. The images here allow the viewers to see what’s going and to enjoy the views. It seems like a simple thing, but it’s something that helps with a movie where the characters are being a bit frantic. The sequences in nature, or what nature LA has to offer, are quite nice and chill. 

Stalker is a thriller that uses something that more and more people have been through and makes it clear that this is a more extreme case. It takes the idea of a stalker and turns it a bit into a whodunnit type of film while also keeping it mostly about the lead. It’s a nicely suspenseful watch that entertains while it makes the viewer question everyone on screen and every new person they’ve met recently.