After missing her bus, Cody Richards (Amanda Wells) finds herself having to walk home alone from school. Despite reports that a local youth has gone missing, and numerous warnings from one of her teachers, Cody isn’t too worried, as she has walked home from school a number of times without any incident. However, today is different than others, as it’s Halloween, and unbeknownst to Cody, an unknown force has sinister plans for the free-spirited young girl.
Coming in at a brisk 40 minutes and made with little to no budget, There’s Something Following Me is a Halloween-set short film that not only harkens back to the more family friendly horror films of the 70s and 80s, it’s a throwback to the VHS era, which is shown both in its visual aesthetic and the fashion in which it was released.
Extremely low grade in every sense, the short gives off an authentic retro vibe that succeeds because the filmmakers clearly have a great understanding of how to achieve such a vibe without ever feeling insincere. In terms of picture quality, There's Something Following Me purposely has a low-definition look about it, as edges are blurry and the picture slightly washed out. As a result, the film has a wonderful aesthetic, which is only compounded and complemented by the fact that it was released exclusively on VHS.
To go along with the visual aesthetic, the film captures a specific time period through its locations and set design. What immediately stood out for me, unsurprisingly, is the vintage Halloween décor strewn throughout both Cody’s school and in her neighborhood, which is very much appealing to someone of my sensibilities. Accompanying the locations and set design, the simplistic yet well executed story is marginally creepy, as it is focused more on building atmosphere and tension than spilling blood. As a result, There's Something Following Me works quite perfectly as a mostly kid-safe horror film that, most importantly, never panders or plays it too safe.
Something else worth noting are the scenes of Cody walking home from school, which is very reminiscent of Laurie Strode walking home in Halloween. This comes through in the location, the way these scenes are shot and pieced together, and of course the score, which consists of a simple yet effective piano piece. And really, all of it works quite well as a nod to John Carpenter’s classic as well as on its own merits.
While There’s Something Following Me will live on with a small handful of people who have been lucky enough to discover it – due to its low budget nature and the format it's released on – it's a little unfortunate that many will miss out on this one, as it certainly deserves a place in the hearts of anyone who has love for independent horror and, more so, Halloween as a holiday. Thankfully, however, the filmmakers have uploaded the film to YouTube in 4 parts. Furthermore, if you’re still rocking a VCR, you can pick up the VHS, which has some cool special features and a handful of other shorts, for a relatively fair price via Briarwood Entertainment.