“It Follows” is a low budget independent horror film that has gained a following over the past year after it has been making the festival rounds. I was finally able to catch a screening of it after it had been given a nation-wide release and while the film doesn’t quite live up to the hype it’s been receiving, it is certainly a new and different take on the horror genre but ultimately leaves the audience with more questions than answers and not enough scares along the way.
The flimsy premise is that our main character is Jay, a blonde teenage girl who is dating an older boy who is new in town. As teenage relationships go these days, they eventually have sex, however being the nice guy that he is, he ties her up and lets her know that he has a condition that is now passed on to her. The condition is that people will follow her and try to kill her. They won’t run, others won’t be able to see them and they could appear anywhere. The only way to get rid of it is to have sex with someone else and pass it on. Good luck.
Of course the rest of the movie is Jay and her friends running from these beings that appear during her day and things aren’t really ever explained. Is this film symbolism for STDs? It is set in Detroit in a time that isn’t explained. The TV shows are from the 1950s, the clothes are from the 1980s, however one of the friends is reading a book on a sea-shell looking device and a girl in a terrific opening sequence uses a cell phone.
Writer/director David Robert Mitchell does a fantastic job of creating a sense of dread and tone throughout the film as well as establishing a pace that never lets us look at our watch. The directing part of the film is great, however I think the script could’ve used another draft because I think a lot of people will miss some things he’s trying to get across to the audience because they aren’t set up well or there are just plot holes in the movie in other parts.
The film certainly borrows inspiration from other horror classics that came before it, namely “Jaws”, “The Shining”, and “Halloween.” I immediately thought of “Halloween” when I first heard the synthesizing notes of the tremendous score that we hear throughout the film as well as the long lens zooming shots that give off a voyeuristic vibe when Jay is being chased by It.
If you plan on seeing “It Follows”, don’t plan on being scared out of your pants or seeing blood and guts, rather think of movies like “The Shining.” Slow dread and a consistently solid lead performance by Maika Monroe lead the charge as well as a story that’s a mix of coming of age with friends, and stalker paranoia with a 1980s horror homage style.