It Follows

Posted March 27, 2015 by in


Total Score

5/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: horror
Director: David Robert Mitchell
MPAA Rating: R
Actors: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi
Length: 100 minutes
Release Date: 3/27/2015
Studio: Northern Lights Films, Animal Kingdom, Two Flints
What We Thought

Phenomenal. It Follows is a masterpiece of horror cinema in the spirit of Kubrick’s The Shining. Not only is it the scariest film of the year, it’s one of the scariest films of the 21st century.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
It Follows is a masterpiece of horror cinema in the spirit of John Carpenter’s Halloween.  Not only is it the scariest film of the year, it’s one of the scariest films of the 21st century.
     The film grips you by the throat as soon as it starts.  Annie (Bailey Spry) runs out of her house, pursued by a threat.  The camera doesn’t reveal exactly who or what it is, leaving it a mystery for now.  She gets into her car and drives off.  Later that night, she calls her father, and leaves a tearful message, saying goodbye.  Then she waits for the inevitable.  The film makes a shocking jump cut to her gruesome fate.
     Then, It Follows begins in earnest, telling the story of Jay (Maika Monroe), an ordinary 19-year-old girl not too different than Annie.  She lives at home, goes to a local college, hangs out with friends, and goes on dates with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary).
     One night, she and her boyfriend sleep together for the first time in his car.  Their evening together takes a frightening turn when he comes up behind her and uses chloroform to put her to sleep.
     She wakes up in an abandoned parking garage, tied to a chair.  He explains that he passed a curse on to her when they were intimate.  “It” will follow her.  She must not let It catch her.
     It can look like anyone, young or old, male or female, like someone she knows, or a total stranger.  It walks straight towards her, slowly, deliberately, relentlessly.  Sometimes, It is partially or fully naked, signifying unspeakable sexual intent.
     As often as not, It Follows is shot from Jay’s point of view, putting you in her shoes.  It is following you.  How far can you run before it catches up?  Do you dare sleep?
     Another set piece is shot in slow-motion, playing out like a bad dream in which you run as you can from something that wants to get you, but it’s as if you’re stuck in quicksand, getting nowhere.  Writer/helmer David Robert Mitchell, a wizard of film and directing techniques, always seems to have new and different tricks up his sleeve to scare the hell out of you.
     That the film is so frightening owes much to its composer, who goes by the name Disasterpiece, in his first film score, an electronic arrangement that’s surreal, nightmarish.  The music during Annie’s scene features discordant notes played at a ferociously fast tempo, with an urgent snare drum that beats like a terrified heart.  Like that of Psycho or Jaws, the score of It Follows is essential to the film, and gives it a unique identity.
     The synthesizer soundtrack contributes to an 80’s vibe, along with the set design, which has Jay and her friends watching box-style TVs of an earlier decade, and other anachronisms, despite the fact that they use smart phones.
     Set in Detroit, It Follows depicts the threat of urban decay spreading like a disease into the safety of the suburbs.  It’s a great location for a horror film, filled with dilapidated homes and ruined buildings.
     The film’s theme is pretty clear.  It is a consequence of sex.  It can be anyone.  Although you can delay It, once you are cursed, It will inevitably catch up to you.  Like the AIDS virus.
     Whether horror films work at all are due in large part to the performances, and Maika Monroe holds It Follows together in a fantastic Scream Queen performance.  Monroe demonstrates deep emotional reserves, portraying Jay as someone who could very well be losing her mind.
     This film is phenomenal.  I would rank It Follows among classics such as The Exorcist for pure terror.  Don’t watch it alone, not even for a minute.
edited 4/24/2015

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.

One Comment

    Tasha Mc

    Wow, didn’t know you liked it that much. Thanks for the review.

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