Synopsis – A young woman is followed by an unknown supernatural force after getting involved in a sexual encounter.
My Take – As I have mentioned before, I am not a huge fan of the current wave of horror films. They depend too much on jump scares rather than developing a good plot. I absolutely hate them. The reason why I hate jump scares so much is because it diffuses all the built up tension in a scene, forcing that build up to start all over again, last year’s poorly made Jessable, Annabelle and Ouija are some perfect examples. Well it not fair to say all of them sucked, as of course we got the Insidious series, The Conjuring & Babadook which have managed to keep the genre alive. Yet, when we look back at the horror films of 70s or 80s films like The Shinning, The Thing, Poltergeist & The Exorcist are a few names which stand out. This films despite their comparatively lack of technique at that time scored with the audience with their brilliant portrayals, atmospheres & story telling. A horror movie is like a roller coaster. It’s scary, but you’re having fun because you know that it’s perfectly safe. The scarier it gets, the more entertaining it is because it pulls you deeper into the story until you forget entirely that you’re in the theater watching a piece of fiction. Luckily, this film delivers where other recent horrors have failed, it creates memorable moments and characters which the audience feels for.
Also unlike recent films, there is no way to predict what direction the movie will take, and there is finally not a completely predictable ending. Horror movies have taken easy ways out and desensitized the audience throughout by having things jump on screen which make the big moments feel insignificant and forgettable because audiences have been jumped at so much they just don’t care anymore and cant wait for the film to end. This film makes a statement of how far Horror can go if done right! The story follows Jay (Maika Monroe), a high school girl who goes on a date that ends with a seemingly innocent sexual encounter. Soon after she finds herself being followed by a supernatural entity. She must find a way to escape this curse before it leads to her death. The film starts with a very simple and effective idea, uses perfect lighting, unique cinematography, design, and a memorable soundtrack in the suburban setting of Detroit. There is some kind of malevolent force that follows you around. The way you contract and eliminate this threat is by having sex. Somehow by having unprotected sex, you get it, and then, as the title says it follows you around. Only you can see this thing though. So every person who might look a little strange to you could be the force that is out to get you. And it creates paranoia because you don’t know what’s real and what isn’t. This is an incredibly effective plot device in the film. As it is explained to J, after she gets it from her new boyfriend, this force can be anyone. It walks slow so you can buy yourself time by outrunning it or driving away but like the Terminator, it will not stop ever until you are dead. Twisting these elements into a nightmare that never stops, it’s one of the scariest films of the decade. When it comes to these films I prefer to be frightened by the things I can’t see, playing off of the psychological terror of the characters. Quite frequently horrors have the dumb blonde who sleeps around, a cheap cliche that easily fits this premise. However, Monroe’s character was more than this typical cliche. She’s just an average teenage girl who happens to be a victim of unfortunate circumstances. You see how conflicted she is on how to handle this curse, whether to pass it on, involve her friends, or simply give up. Another horror cliche that is turned on its head is the topic of sex. Most of the time sex scenes are just added in scary films to attract a certain type of audience, but in this film sex is an integral part of the story. There is something deeply terrifying about being haunted for a very personal act.
A supernatural entity infringing upon your most private moments is disturbing to say the least. The film uses a number of conventional horror tropes that really help amplify the terror. There are many moments where you just want to yell, “look behind you” and grip the edge of your seat in the hope that the characters can see what you can. What is unique about this film is the amazing cinematography, very smart at times. The director of photography makes an intelligent use of constant pans, slowly building tension. There are and a number of inventive camera tricks which give this film its signature style.The soundtrack really stands out; It is perfectly in tune with the scene, surroundings and the plot. It gives you goose bumps even during the scenes where nothing is happening. Dark, classical sounds adds so much emotions, gives you a feeling that ‘IT’ is somewhere behind you, in the movie theater. I think the composer paid homage to about 80s horror themes. I am simply in love with the music that was used here. The cast comprises a bunch of unknown actors, people may recognize the beautiful Maika Monroe from last year’s awesome thriller The Guest. Not only is she strikingly beautiful, she absolutely nails the character. She’s unabashedly terrified all throughout the film and when she’s scared, you are scared for her. The rest of the cast is very good as well and there’s a nice love angle as one of her long time friends – Paul (Keir Gilchrist) has loved her probably since they were kids, but he’s not quite her type and this creates a lot of tension. He’s willing to sleep with her and take the malevolent from her, that’s how much he feels for her. Director David Robert Mitchell has proven he is here to stay, with this craft & story telling abilities, we are sure to get some refreshing films in the coming years. On the whole, ‘It Follows’, is a perfect film! With a high concept, low budget, absolute masterpiece of a movie that gets under your skin and freezes your blood with eerie dread in the way that few films in the genre seem to do these days. This is about as original as it gets and that is a rare thing in today’s cinema.
Director – David Robert Mitchell
Rated – R
Run Time – 100 minutes