Review: It Follows

Posted: March 29, 2015 in Review, Scary Stuff
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Here’s an impression of some of my reactions while watching this film:

“Aah!”
and “Yikes!”
and let’s not forget “Oh my f***ing God!”

Yeah, it was a really good movie. It’s like watching the movie version of a Stephen King novel without actually having anything to do with Stephen King. Inspired by childhood nightmares of writer and director David Robert Mitchell, It Follows…well, follows Jay, a young woman who has recently been seeing a handsome young man named Hugh. One night they have sex in Hugh’s car, which leads to all sorts of trouble. Apparently Hugh’s passed on a curse, making Jay the target of a creature that can only be seen by those affected by the curse and follows them at a walking pace with the intent of killing them, and then going after whoever was the previous bearer of the curse. The only way to pass the curse on is to have sex with someone else.

The “sex equals death” trope has been part of horror since perhaps before Dracula or Frankenstein, but it’s so rare to see a well-worn theme reinvented like this, making the film a very strange metaphor for STDs and the overwhelming power they have on our lives. There’s also the fear of intimacy, alongside a fear of strangers and what they can do to us. That last theme is exploited pretty well in this movie, where every unknown character or extra could be It. Heck, at one point I was wondering if It was a squirrel, and I was afraid!

But that’s not all that makes this film awesome. For instance, the writing is phenomenal, starting slow but mysterious and quickly getting exciting. There’s barely any gore, and the jump-scares, rather than relieving tension, enhances the tense atmosphere that just builds throughout the film. The few moments of humor in this film seem to fit right in, giving us a short break from the constant suspense that characterizes It Follows throughout. And the way it ends is terrifyingly awesome, the perfect satisfactory ending (who knew I’d get that sort of ending just hours after my last post?). And the monster, so undefined and strange, is guaranteed to cause you terror, even at its strangest (and arguably slightly goofy) moments.

Not to mention the acting from the small cast, who are extremely talented! Special mention goes to Maika Monroe, the gorgeous actress playing Jay, shows wonderful breadth and ability despite still being very early in her acting career. I think I fell in love with her a little while watching her performance, it was that good. Also worth mentioning is Keir Gillchrist as Paul, a young man who obviously is crazy for Jay, and his earnest manner is so wonderful that you really want to support him no matter what happens. I definitely empathized with him, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who will.

I can say more about this film–it is phenomenal–but I don’t want to give away any more. Instead, I really encourage horror fans to go see this movie if you can. It’s creepy, it’s fresh, and you’ll have second thoughts about one-night stands forevermore. Just a wonderful example in the continuing trend of great horror films from the indie scene and made on smaller budgets that scare us more than any bigger-budget franchise film.

I’m giving It Follows a 4.5 out of 5. This film is a new gem in the horror genre, so much that I tried to get the poster from the box office after the movie (unfortunately they don’t give those away anymore, darn it). I’m almost kind of hoping for a sequel. God knows the film leaves open the possibility for one, and I wouldn’t mind having some questions answered and seeing Jay and her friends grow in the face of this threat. On the other hand, why risk the possibility of ruining a great story by making a sequel that might fail to live up to the original? It’s quite the dilemma.

Well, that’s all for now. I’m going to bed. Maybe I’ll have a nightmare that’ll lead to an awesome story of my own. One can only hope, right?

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Comments
  1. Hmmm… I might give this one a try, despite the open ending.

    Two movies I recently watched and enjoyed immensely for the high suspense factor were Dream House (with Daniel Craig) and Don’t Blink (with Brian Austen Green). Dream House gave a satisfactory ending and explained everything. It was more of a psychological thriller but did have some tense moments. Don’t Blink did have a “what the…?” kind of ending, but it was wonderfully creepy.

    • I think you might like this one, Ruth. It’s romance factor is right up your alley, but besides that it’s inventive, terrifying and well-written. Definitely worth spending the money on tickets.
      I haven’t heard of either Dream House or Don’t Blink (the latter sounds like a certain very terrifying episode of Doctor Who I’m familiar with), but I’ll keep an eye out for them. Thanks for the recommendations.

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