If 2020’s Spree didn’t already make you weary of rideshare services, Stalker is here to remind you: you really can’t trust your drivers! Don’t say hi to them if you see them randomly lurking in your neighborhood, and certainly, don’t take it upon yourself to start arranging hangouts with your Uber drivers in local dive bars. Unfortunately, our lead, Andy (Vincent Van Horn) never got this memo. Stalker plunges us into the disturbing headspace of ‘RYDE’ driver Roger (Michael Lee Joplin), as he targets Andy like a seasoned professional.
Andy is getting a fresh start: he is relocating to a new apartment with his best pal, a doggie named Juice Box. He used to be in a band, but now Andy is striving to live a simple and new existence as a tutor. Andy is the kind of guy who listens to Christmas music year-round; “a nostalgic old man in a prepubescent boy’s body.” After he meets spunky and cute Sam (Christine Ko) at a local spot called The Roost, he goes home with her. They take a RYDE back to his place (one in which the driver is overwhelmingly friendly), and neither is interested in having a one-night stand.
The RYDE driver, Roger, begins making appearance everywhere Andy turns. At first, it is welcome attention. Then, things get weird. Roger gets inside Andy’s apartment, finding his yearbook and his tutoring appointments. Soon, Roger is infiltrating nearly every facet of Andy’s existence, despite Andy’s best efforts to distance himself. Just how far will Roger take things to reach a dangerous endgame?
Stalker is effective and thrilling horror. It takes a decent time to set up all the pieces, and every single one of them pays off. I was very surprised as to the ultimate direction this takes—the script from Tyler Savage and Dash Hawkins shimmers with shocking moments. All three lead characters received layered arcs with strong performances from a talented trio. An ending that is very Urban Legend reminds us of a deadly lesson: it is not nice to ghost people, or to ever really trust them in the first place. I know I’ll think twice—and verify the license plate!—every single time I use a rideshare app next time I’m heading home.
Stalker hitches a ride on streaming, Friday, June 18th.