Influencer: What makes it such a solid Shudder Original?

Influencer - Courtesy Shudder
Influencer - Courtesy Shudder /

Why is the Shudder Original Influencer getting such good reviews? It’s currently rated 6 out of 10 stars on IMDB and has a 73% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes. However, not only do fans like it, critics do too. Overall, it’s got a 93% Certified Fresh Tomatometer score.

But why?

Well, what makes any movie, horror or otherwise, good? It’s usually a combination of a good plot and solid acting. Influencer definitely has both.

We’ll look at what makes this social media horror movie a worthy addition to the subgenre. But first, let’s get acquainted with what it’s about for those who may not know.

Warning: spoilers ahead!

Influencer synopsis

Here’s the description from Shudder’s YouTube channel:

"Influencer tells the story of Madison (Emily Tennant, Riverdale), a popular social media influencer who is having a lonely and uneventful trip in Thailand despite what she tells her followers on Instagram. While reflecting on her boyfriend canceling the trip, she meets CW (Cassandra Naud, See), a fearless and enigmatic traveler who offers to take her to some of the most Instagram-worthy locations. Together they share authentic meals and drinks with locals, discussing the differences between Madison’s online presence and CW’s lack of one. After showing Madison all of the amazing sights, things take a different turn when CW brings her to a surprise location – a deserted island that is completely off the grid."

Influencer review

Shudder - Influencer
Influencer – Courtesy Shudder /

Okay, from the trailer and the synopsis, I knew something was going to go down on the island CW took Madison to. However, I assumed it’d be a predictable plot line. Something like CW would murder Madison.


The clue was in the tally marks on the log, which registered as I saw them.

“Somebody was keeping track of something. Possibly days?”

However, there was something more horrific than murder in what that insinuated.

And then that insinuated something happened.

“She just left her?!” was my stomach-dropping reaction when CW hopped in her boat after a night of drinking and just left Madison sleeping on the beach.

At least she was alive, but essentially CW was leaving her to die a gruesome and prolonged death, not to mention a lonely one. Something they’d talked about around the campfire the night before as they drank wine. It involved no cell service. No food. A literal ocean of undrinkable water surrounding you and going mad from thirst. A quick death would be preferable to that.

Except, even with the odds of survival stacked against you, there was a chance you could survive until…

But that’s the problem.

Until when?

It wasn’t like help was going to arrive. No one knew where Madison was. Nor did they know who she’d been with. They didn’t know who CW was. The chance of anyone coming to her rescue was nil.

The only way she might get off that island was if CW repeated the cycle and returned with another victim. Surely then the two of them could overpower CW, get off the island, and, hopefully, get justice.

Or, I’m assuming that was Madison’s rationale when she came to grips with her fate. It’s what I’d be thinking.

But we never see what happens to Madison. Once CW leaves her, the movie follows CW.

I was off base on why CW would do such a thing. Well, I was partly off base. I figured it was to steal Madison’s money and credit cards, which she did. But then it looked like she was also going to steal her identity —as in her online social media one.

Except, how was she going to pull that off? Sure, a wig could help her easily transform their conflicting hair length and colors. (Madison had long, blond hair. CW’s was short and brunette.)

But CW also sported a very noticeable birthmark on her face. How was she going to conceal that?

Modern technology, of course. Especially since they basically had the same body shape.

CW only needed to pose in some of Madison’s outfits. Then, with the help of AI and editing programs, she cut and pasted Madison’s face in, and voila. She was able to create a few new convincing shots for Madison’s Instagram.

She planned to do only enough to create a certain narrative. Then she concluded it with a post about taking a break from social media for a while. After that, there’d be no need to pretend to be Madison anymore.

Her plan was pretty smart, really. She’d clearly gotten away with it several other times and had learned a thing or two.

But this time posed a big problem, one CW never had to face before. Someone came looking for Madison: Ryan, her boyfriend.

At first, CW was able to explain why she was in the house with Jessica (Sara Canning), another influencer CW latched on to, with no sign of Madison anywhere. But then Ryan got suspicious of CW, partly because Jessica did.

Even though I suspected it would probably end like it did, with CW at some point returning to the island and finding Madison still alive, it still held a little bit of a twist.

Basically, I didn’t think CW would kill Ryan like she did. I also figured she’d bring someone else to the island first. But I think she went alone to prep in case she did bring someone else. She wouldn’t want a body lying around, would she? Better to cover up that evidence first.

Speaking of, when we don’t see Madison right away when CW gets there, I’ll admit I did briefly think, “Hmm. Maybe she did end up dying after all.”

Nope. In the end, Madison comes out victorious.

All in all, Influencer was a very solid social media horror movie. And I have to give a nod to Naud because her performance was fantastic as a sexy, sociopathic, social media stalker, identity thief serial killer.

Influencer trailer

Next. Shudder in June: Irish horror, werewolves and Children of the Corn. dark

Influencer requires a Shudder subscription to watch. If you don’t have one, visit their website to start one.