‘It Follows:’ Movie Review

April 7, 2015 1 Comment

I’m not sure what has happened in the horror genre, but it seems seems Hollywood has a difficult time scaring people these days. Everything that has managed to work as been done already, and re-done, and recycled to the point of where everything is tired, predictable and boring. There wasn’t a single decent horror film released last year that was halfway decent.

Fortunately, there was one film that dared to be different. So different, it was simple. So simple, I’m surprised that no one has thought of this concept before. Even the title is very simple: ‘It Follows.’

The film is written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, who is best known for his work, ‘The Myth of the American Sleepover,’ which depicts the story of adolescents in Detroit looking for adventure on their last week of summer, yearning for more time to rediscover their youth. The same level of sensitivity is present in ‘It Follows,’ as our main characters are not only racing against the clock, but an extremely slow paranormal being.

Where ‘The Myth of the American Sleepover’ was mostly casted with newcomers, ‘It Follows’ was casted with C-list actors and actresses. The film centers around a girl named Jay Height (Maika Monroe), who meets a boy by the name of Hugh (Jake Weary). They go on their first date and everything seems to be going great. They even manage to have sex in the back of Hugh’s car (because people still do that today…). Little does Jay know, she has received a pretty nasty gift from Hugh, and I’m not talking about an STD.

Jay is then kidnapped, retrained against her will, and then forced to watch ‘It’ as it tries to kill her. What is ‘It?’ I don’t know. No one knows, and David Mitchell goes out of his way to make sure that no one else finds out either.

The only thing we do know about “It’ is that ‘It’ is the curse attached to a particular person. Whoever has the curse is the target of ‘It’ and ‘It’ won’t stop until it has chased (or rather, followed) you down and killed you. The only way to get rid of the curse is to have sex with someone else. Once the curse has been removed, it will move onto the next person you’ve passed the curse on to. If I had to describe it, I would say that its like a chain letter, or a Sexually Transmitted Disease that kills you quickly and gruesomely.

The catch? Once you have had sex with another person, ‘It’ will stop following you, but that doesn’t mean the curse is done with you. If ‘It’ manages to kill it’s target, it will come return for the last person who passed the curse on, and it will keep doing so until anyone who had the curse is dead.

A couple of things to note about this aberration/ghost/monster/zombie, or whatever it is:

  1. ‘It’ can only be seen by the person who has the curse or anyone who has had the curse before. Otherwise, it’s invisible to everyone.
  2. ‘It’ can change itself into anyone, and can transform itself into someone you know just to get closer to you.
  3. ‘It’ can’t die, for whatever reason. However, it can be disabled (temporally). 
  4. ‘It’ doesn’t have the ability to move through solid objects or people, but can interact with people or things (such as breaking windows and pushing people)
  5. ‘It’ also cannot move very fast. All it can do is walk from target to target.

So, we have a very simple concept of a horror film. A monster that is terrifying, but not entirely unstoppable, which is good because it makes for realism. It provide the scary sense of discomfort of never knowing when a supernatural force is going to strike, similar to the Japanese horror film One Missed Call (2003), mixed with the supernatural stalking excitement of The Grudge (2004). To be clear, I’m referring to the Japanese original, not the cheap American remake.

Final Verdict: B

Overall, I liked the film and I like the concept. It provides a different form of horror cinematography that manages to shock and frightens you without the need to resort to cheap jump scares every 10 minutes.   The fact that they didn’t try to pack the cast with a bunch of stars is another plus.

The only part that I found disappointing was the ending. It ended on such a weird note, the crowd actually stayed till’ the end of the credits just to see if there was more. Unfortunately, there wasn’t more, but that didn’t stop it from being a good film. It’s also one of the very few films where the main characters survive at the end. Then again, considering the nature of this supernatural force, it wasn’t difficult to survive.

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