Shook follows social media influencer Mia, who becomes the pawn in a terrifying online campaign of manipulation and tests while babysitting her sister’s dog.

Mia (Daisye Tutor) sacrifices a night live-streaming with friends for her sister Nicole (Emily Goss) with whom she has a strained relationship. Mia’s struggle between real world responsibilities and her online presence sets the tone for the ensuing horror. Its premise and tone seem to be inspired by the opening scene of Scream (1996), reimagined for the era of smart technology and social media. While Wes Craven’s cult classic dances between dark comedy and horror beautifully, Shook’s director Jennifer Harrington never quite finds the same footing.

The film’s opening scene establishes a sarcastically funny tone, but we only get glimmers of this from then on. Mia is portrayed as fickle and superficial, and though a few moments seem intended to flesh her out, it’s not clear if her terror is played for laughs or to inspire genuine scares. Similarly, the theme of the rampaging dog killer hovers on a fence between tones. It’s not deeply scary, but it is too upsetting to be funny.

As the story progresses, various twists and turns keep the film entertaining, but plot holes and unexplained elements make things more frustrating than truly thrilling. That’s not to say there aren’t satisfying spooks, though. Some scenes create brilliantly well-paced tension and Tutor gives a strong performance in the lead role. Low lighting, a great score that recalls It Follows and some unusual cinematic blending of the real and virtual are also on hand to lift Shook out of tedium.

A few truly tense scenes, a good central performance and an interesting blend of real life and digital experiences make Shook worth a watch, but it remains firmly in the camp of horror B-movies.



CAST: Daisye Tutor, Emily Goss, Nicola Posener, Octavius J. Johnson

DIRECTOR: Jennifer Harrington

WRITERS: Jennifer Harrington, Alesia Glidewell (story by)

SYNOPSIS: Fame-obsessed social media influencer Mia feels guilty about avoiding her real-life responsibilities after another online star is murdered. Staying out of the limelight proves to be harder than she imagined, as she becomes caught up in a terrifying online terror campaign.

Available to watch on Shudder from 18th February.