It Follows made me feel like I’d ratted in prison for an early parole and felt paranoid for the rest of my life about who might find out and kill me for it. It made me feel like an orang-utan moving tree to tree as the wood-cutting apparatus closes in. I became the bus in Speed; unrelenting movement for fear of death. This is It Follows and, by God, did it scare me a little bit more than I expected.
Directed by David Robert Mitchell, It follows is a low-ish budget teen horror flick that takes itself just seriously enough. The story follows Jay Height (Maika Monroe), a young cool chick whose privileged life includes: a big house, pool, an assortment of friends and maybe as a consequence of all this, a new potential boyfriend. He’s cool too and has a swag jacket and before long they’ve done the nasty in the back of his shiny, stylish car (lit excellently and a deserving moment for blowing-up as the film’s poster).
Hereafter, things turn for the worst for Jay. Lazing and nonchalantly dangling her s-exhausted limbs about the metallic and leathery 80s inspired powerhouse of a car, her lover becomes a fighter, pinning her and choking her out. She awakens later, strapped to a wheelchair and unharmed physically however now she’s sexually contracted a curse. No, not an STI; some have tried to relate her newfound vexation with the risks of pre-marital sex in today’s day and age, if it were, everyone should be afflicted and not just in this case only the two most recent lovers. No, this affliction can’t be cured with an awkward exposure, slap on the wrists and a series of pills. If you’re the most recent inamorato/a, you’ll be followed. Indefinitely. Steadily. By your worst nightmare; until, of course, you pass it on. Or die.
Set in Suburban America, Mitchell creates a timeless feeling using characters and props that seem born out of the 80s, 90s, 00s, now, and even of the future. In doing so, he naturally acknowledges those who come before him and simultaneously breaks a little ground for himself. Dizzying circular panning forces you to look over your shoulder like the characters. Long takes past characters/out of windows/into open spaces with people milling around force you to pick out unorthodox beings and these shots don’t feel like chaos either, more like the organised yet laissez-faire movement of extras during the credits of Haneke’s Hidden. Scary moments are tactfully frightening wherein anything that can make us jump first builds us up, let’s us rest, then hits which allows us to reach greater heights as opposed to something out of the blue. Not to mention a superb score that ameliorates and integrates seamlessly with every aspect I’ve previously mentioned.
Overall, like The Babadook from earlier this year, It Follows is another great example of modern horror. A relatively open-ended final few scenes and, in my opinion, a disappointing “final fight” may not be to everyone’s taste however strong performances, a classically imagined script and several bloody scary kills and ghouls make this undoubtedly the best horror of the year thus far.
Though I think I preferred The Babadook.