It Follows (2015)
It Follows (2015)
A Review by: Jeff Turner
Dir: David Robert Mitchell
Written by: David Robert Mitchell.
Produced by: Northern Lights Films, Animal Kingdom, Two Flints.
Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Jake Weary.
I love older horror films, especially from the mid to late 70′s well into the 80′s. Something like THE NIGHTMARE OF ELM STREET, HALLOWEEN, JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING, THE EXORCIST, or CARRIE among others. There’s a certain grittiness and atmosphere to films like those. I’ve missed horror films like that, and not only is IT FOLLOWS a fantastic callback, but its the best film I’ve seen so far in 2015.
Jay (Maika Monroe) is in a happy relationship with a new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary). Everything goes good until they have sex, which he then kidnaps her briefly to explain that a monster has been following him, which he has now passed unto her, and the only way for her to get rid of it is to have sex with somebody else. This is a premise that is simultaneously really clever, and really stupid. The movie handles it well however; giving the monster a sense of mystery, and with the help of a well-placed opening scene, makes it genuinely terrifying and establishes the stakes.
The strongest aspect of IT FOLLOWS is its atmosphere. Finally a horror film takes the time to establish its character and the world they inhabit as opposed to bombarding the viewer with gore. These types of movies don’t come along nearly enough. The acting is surprisingly excellent as well, particularly from Maika Monroe as Jay. Monroe has a very Jamie Lee Curtis-Heather Langenkamp esque screen presence. Hopefully we have a new scream queen on our hands. The other actors are all good as well, they deliver their lines with a certain subtlety.
Without a good script however; its hard to have good performances, and the screenplay for IT FOLLOWS is wonderfully. The film is rich in themes, and its characters behave like normal people. You think of the dumb teenagers you see in movies, these kids are not them. Granted you have a few that are apprehensive, but only because they cannot see the monster chasing Jay, and from their perspective she sounds like she’s lost her mind. That’s another thing that’s cool about this movie, is the way the script uses psychology, and the way the monster will toy with these characters. Example: when the monster is initially introduced, it takes the form of a woman. It is later established that the woman was Hugh, or Jeff’s mother.
IT FOLLOWS is the best horror film in some time. It is atmospheric, it is downplayed, it is philosophical, and well-acted. A quick rewrite of this film and it's a talky, Terence Malick-Ingmar Bergman esque romp. What’s the most fascinating aspect of this movie though, is how easily it could be a comedy. I think any good horror movie could easily be parodied, because fear in its nature is irrational, and what's irrational is many times quite funny. IT FOLLOWS is getting expanded to more theaters this weekend, if its near you, see it.
Suggestion: See it