Review: It Follows
The basis of a film that revolves around sex can kill you can be a bit taboo and even uncreative but It Follows excels thanks to excellent cinematography, a beautiful score and surprisingly good performances from the unknown cast. David Robert Mitchell returns to the director chair for the second time in his very young but promising career and delivers us a film that is very reminiscent of John Carpenter's Halloween. It Follows is hardly imaginative, nor fresh like most critics are claiming it to be but it is for sure a breath of fresh air into the horror genre. It hardly relies on jump scares and it abandons that recent trend in favor of creating a much more tense and quieter film that won't necessarily scare you but instead give you an unnerving sense of dread. Most filmmakers have seemed to forget a very important thing, a good horror doesn't need to show you or tell you everything and It Follows does just that. It respects it's audience and delivers a well done film on all of it's merits.
The plot follows Jay Height (Maika Monroe) as she is young woman moving into adulthood and beginning to see an older man, Hugh (Jake Weary). The two go on a few dates and he appears slightly skittish but eventually Jay decides to take their relationship to the next level and have sex. What she didn't realize is how drastically her life would change with this decision as now as he tells her she carries a curse where something terrible will follow her around for the rest of her life with the intention of killing her. With that being said, I guess that sex education teacher from Mean Girls was right in saying "Don't have sex, if you do, you'll die." At first Jay is resistant, as would any young woman refusing to believe that a supernatural entity is following her with the intent to kill her. However, as the looming dread sets in and the gravity of the situation finally hits she and her close knit group of friends do their best to keep her alive.
It Follows is indeed a breath of fresh air into a dying horror genre. It is a horror that tends to go through plenty of fads. It goes from slashers to Japanese ghost flicks to found footage and now psychological. It Follows is successful in what it does the same way that last year's top horror film, The Babadook did. Both films did a tremendous job creating a very real environment that allowed the viewer to care and feel for the main characters as they were very personable. David Robert Mitchell's It Follows at times feels like a tribute film a bit too much to John Carpenter's Halloween but in a way that works extremely well for it. Between the idealistic low end neighborhood that the characters live in, and the way the film is shot is all very similar to Halloween. The two films even share some of shots that are almost identical.
Now, again the plot is a bit fanatical and hardly original but once you buy into it you are rewarded with a well done film with a good meaning behind it. It Follows is more than just a good horror film that plays with your head a bit due to Mitchell's excellent camera work as it is also a heady exploration of both sexually transmitted disease and sexual abuse while being a riff on the classic coming of age narrative. David Robert Mitchell deserves the most praise for this film due to his choice to stick with long wide shots of the action. Doing so makes the viewers uneasy as we have the character in the frame but instead as a viewer you will always be uneasy as you constantly looking throughout the frame looking for potential threats. Surprisingly, as the story progresses the character's paranoia then becomes the paranoia of the viewers as well. As for the score composed by Rich Vreeland, it is a terrific and veering score that will be very reminiscent of the unforgettable work in Halloween. At times however, the music or lack thereof can lead to a few jump scares, but that leads credence to the fact that the tension is palpable throughout every scene. Maika Monroe is an unknown actress up to this point but does a very good job in the role of Jay. She is both naïve but likable and due to her performance in the role, she adds another sense of increased tension. All in all, It Follows is a solid horror film but hardly a classic. It breathes much needed air into a dying genre and between this and The Babadook it would not surprise me if it starts a new fad within the genre.