It Follows

it-follows-poster

Release: Friday, March 13, 2015

[Theater]

Written by: David Robert Mitchell

Directed by: David Robert Mitchell

Subtly unsettling and certainly spooky the unseen, inexplicable threat at the heart of It Follows is not likely to strike you right away, but if you let it that paranoid feeling will eventually find you.

David Robert Mitchell has come up with a new way to move unsuspecting audiences. By allowing us to conjure in our own minds the worst things possible before exposing us to that which we haven’t quite thought of yet, his sophomore — not sophomoric — effort becomes one of the more inventive horror films in recent years. It may not top the list of films that purport to “scare” — a goal that seems to be becoming increasingly unrealistic — this heady mixture of atmosphere and suspense is far more concerned with making filmgoers uncomfortable. Perhaps the scariest thing about this film is how effective it is in doing just that.

The term ‘safe sex’ may never be thought of the same way again. Maika Monroe makes a more aggressive effort to be recognized by a wider (eyed) audience as 19-year-old Jay Height, a role that follows on the heels of her eminently watchable Anna Peterson from last year’s The Guest. After she and her boyfriend Hugh (Jake Weary) share an intimate moment in the back of her car what has heretofore been a pleasant date night spirals into a harrowing and surreal nightmare that defies explanation. She is drugged by Hugh and later wakes up bound to a chair in a decrepit facility where he proceeds to try and offer some clarification as to what is going on.

Something is after Hugh and he tells her that now she’s had intercourse with him, whatever that something is — I’m not being intentionally vague, the film never allows us to know precisely what this terror actually is — will now be after her. She must sleep with someone else in order to rid herself of this apparent plague, a passing of a most disturbing baton.

It Follows manages to plumb anxiety and fear from deep within over the course of a slow burning, eerie 100 minutes. It helps that the source of this . . . yeah, we’ll just go with ‘plague’ for now, stems from a very personal yet universal experience. Coupled with the fact that every character featured is likable on some level, the indescribable nature of the events — the victim can see the pursuer but no one else can — starts to manifest as something truly horrific. We want Jay et al to overcome this, to escape her slow slide into psychosis and yet the way Mitchell constructs his story we have little choice but to accept that perhaps things just aren’t that simple.

Similarly to Adam Wingard’s adrenaline-spiking throwback to the 80’s, It Follows builds tension and carries momentum on the back of a mesmerizing soundtrack. If it’s not some of the more striking visual imagery that pops out arguably too infrequently throughout, then it’ll be the haunting presence of Disasterpeace’s slinking, sauntering electronica. There are a number of destined-to-be-classic tracks featured here. Fortunately the performances from a relatively unknown cast don’t let the music to do all the talking. And the carefully chosen settings, while nothing that screams big budget, set the tone early for creating a sense of inescapability and hopelessness. We get quaint suburbs, grotesque beach scenes, and an unforgettable stake-out in an aquatic center to name a few.

It Follows doesn’t need in-depth analysis. What it really needs is a wide audience, which it does seem to be receiving now. It needs to be seen, it needs to be felt. Is it too early to call this a future cult classic? Perhaps, but it won’t be a stretch to imagine that happening. Creativity runs amok in this highly effective slice of modern horror, a film where the term ‘thriller’ might be too liberally applied. I’d much prefer to label this one a chiller.

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4-0Recommendation: David Robert Mitchell cranks up the tension from the opening shot. Patience might be tested for some as there isn’t a great deal of fast, frenetic action, and there’s certainly an absence of those “classic” jump scare tactics. That’s chiefly why It Follows has this ability to follow you out of the theater. It’s disturbing in a realistic way. For anyone wanting a refreshing change-up within the genre, I can’t recommend this highly enough.

Rated: R

Running Time: 100 mins.

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited.

Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.imdb.com 

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42 thoughts on “It Follows

    • Thank you!!! I couldn’t contain my excitement for this as I reviewed it. Rhino’s Horror was the site I first came across anything about it. I’m so glad I did too bc this one is a true future classic in my estimation

      • I’m sure it will be, I’ve heard nothing but good things about it!! Unfortunately I couldn’t find any cinemas it was playing in 😦 everything was ’50 Shades’ fever.

        I can’t wait to watch it!!!!!!!!

  1. Great stuff Tom. I am really keen to see this but it hasn’t been on anywhere near me. I’m keeping a look out but I might have to wait for a home release now. Mind you I still haven’t seen The Babadook yet – my wife doesn’t like horror films and I don’t watch many either. Anyway, really like the sound of this one.

    • I haven’t seen The Babadook either and I’m getting to the point where I’m getting tired of hearing how it’s “the best horror film ever.” I will have to see whenever I can get to it. Some how I think I’m going to be disappointed.

        • We are the last few remaining, it feels like. Maybe that’s due to the blogs that I’m in touch with frequently right now, though. I still can’t wait to see it.

  2. Glad you liked this one, man. I haven’t seen it yet (the ditched VOD release screwed me), so hopefully I’ll catch it soon!

    • Ah, that’s always a pain in the ass. But I suppose since its become quite a hit in theaters that’s a semi-good thing. Obviously being able to access it though is even better though lol. I feel like you have something to look forward to. And thanks for breaking the news of it for me. I’m pretty sure your site is where I first heard of it.

      • Nice, glad to hear that! Yea it’s great to see indie horror break out like that, just sucks they decided to do it a week from its VOD release. I’m 3 hours from a theater showing it, so that kinda sucks. I’m excited to see it nonetheless!

  3. I saw this before the hype and really enjoyed the mood. Taste is subjective, but I will say, I find it amusing when others call it the “best horror film in years”. The Babadook came out just last year and was pretty much hailed as an instant classic.

    • The old lady was my least favorite ‘follower’ honestly but yeah she was kinda creepy. I loved the opening scene. Wished there was more of that, but what we get here is definitely unique. Glad I checked it out.

    • Thanks kindly Eddie; I’m excited Knoxville was able to get it. As soon as I saw it listed at my local theaters, I was all over it.

  4. Well, I think you know my thoughts on this Tom. Loved it (and your review!). As you say, it’s the mood the film captures that really gets under your skin. I still find myself thinking about it weeks on.

  5. EVERYONE is seeing this movie and everyone is giving it an incredible review. None of my local theatres are playing it… ugh… I’m so jealous of all of you who have watched this! I’m going to make a trek into the city either this week or next and that’s all there is to it.

    • From what I understand this movie has just now gotten an expanded release thanks to its positive critical response. I loved it. Hope you do manage to catch it and hopefully you enjoy it too. 🙂

  6. I’ve kept my eye on this one, but wasn’t sure if I should give it a shot! But after reading your review, I’m definitely going to!

    • Great to hear Kevin, thanks for checking out my review! I hope you get something out of this interesting film man.

  7. Somehow I don’t think this will make its way down here either, as it seems like its actually a proper horror movie and not a gore/slasher film or a supernatural film which are all very different things IMO. As I can’t stand those last two, I think I’m gonna like this from the way you described it Tom, sounds exactly the sorta thing I like. This is the second good thing I have read about this in two days.

    • I’m willing to give any movie a go as long as the story is good, and this one definitely had that in its favor Jordan. Check it out, see what you think bud!

  8. This finally made it here to Rochester and it is playing at a small local art house theater that I occasionally volunteer at called “The Little” and I am so stoked to catch this. Saw the awesome rating you gave it. I skimmed over the last two paragraphs but will come back to read the whole thing after I catch it. I do hope it does get that wider audience, Glad you caught this finally, Now, I really am pretty amped. Thanks! Enjoy your weekend bro!

    • I hope you’re experience is similar man; I actually first left the theater a bit skeptical about what I had seen. The ending few minutes are definitely. . . . odd. But I liked it overall. The soundtrack is unforgettable too. Cheers Vic! Hope you had a good one yourself.

      • I really enjoyed the film, Tom. Went with my wife to see it at The Little Theatre for our anniversary night. I gave it a very good write up and I just read your review. Good job, man! That atmosphere, music and photography is so excellently done. The suspense was insane, too! Glad that horror flicks are re-inventing themselves of late. It’s good for the genre.

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