Written by The Vern
It Follows has the most terrifying premise when you stop to really think about it. Many people will mock and laugh at the concept of a girl who is slowly being hunted by an ominous being after having sex. Yet, this is the same concept used in countless other horror movies. What happens to most kids when they have sex in these kinds of films? They end up getting killed by some guy in a mask swinging a machete. Now what if you take this same concept of being stalked by a thing whose sole purpose is to kill you, but you’re the only one who can see it. Even more, the being could look like someone you knew or something you recognize. The unknown presence in this movie is very much our own mortality. No matter how far we try to get away or try to distract it from getting us. It will now and forever follow you and that is truly a scary concept. In most other flicks, I’m rooting for the killer to attack because the characters are usually so shallow. But for once, I’m actually scared for them
It would have been easy to turn this idea of an invisible killer (at least to our main character) into a very standard horror film. Every person in this meets the same criteria as other movies. There’s Hugh the jock (Jake Weary), Paul the nerd (Keir Gichrist), and Jay the virgin (Played by Maika Monroe). What sets them apart from all the others is that they are believable as real people. There is a scene when Hugh is explaining the creature to Jay’s friends. They know that he is the one that gave her these images after they had sex, but no one yells at him. In every other horror film, they would have ripped him to shreds and that have that character get killed off in the next scene. There is no stupid high school drama and I love that about It Follows. There’s no pointless jealousy scenes or moments where people try and get revenge.
I also like how the story handles the character of Paul. It’s obvious to everyone that he likes Jay a lot and is constantly hanging around her and her friends. Some may find that it’s a waste of time to spend those feelings on a girl who wants nothing to do with you, but these two have obviously been friends for a while. Just because they’re not physical with each other doesn’t mean they don’t care. There was once a girl in my group of friends that I had feelings for but she didn’t feel the same way about me. Should I just stop being her friend after having her in my life for that many years. I’m sure many of you have had friends like that. Even though Jay’s other friends give Paul shit for being in love with her, they don’t exclude him from the group either.
Director David Robert Mitchell looks to be influenced by John Carpenter especially with the use of 2:35 aspect ratio and the electronic score by Disasterpeace. But to me, the characters and dialogue are more influenced by Whit Stillman (The Last Days of Disco) and Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha). You may make the argument that the characters themselves are boring and don’t have exciting conversations. Well, do you make every one of you discussions exciting and engaging? I’m sure you try, but it’s not something that is done all the time. The characters in It Follows talk the way everyone in the world talks to each other. In certain movies you have to ramp up the emotion factor to make the story more believable but not here.
I realized that I have not mentioned if the film is scary or not. I for one am never a fan of movies that want to constantly give me scares. I find that to be very annoying, and although It Follows does have a jump scare in certain places, it’s well earned. The film does establish many moments a good sense of tension. The scenes in the opening, at the beach, and at the pool are good examples of this. There is even a moment at a school where a camera does a 360 degree turn that builds suspense too. The electronic score from Disasterpeace also really helps with amping up that fear as well. Right from the very start of the picture, I could feel my heart thumping when I heard those first chords. I would put this up there right next to Suspiria, Halloween, and Psycho as the best orginal score in horror movies
Nominated for three Indie Spirit Awards, including Best Editing: Julio C. Perez IV, Best Cinematography: Mike Gioulakis, and Best Director: David Robert Mitchell. I only wish that Maika Monroe got some recognition for her work in this. She is this generation’s Jamie Lee Curtis. I hope to see her in other features and not just horror ones.