It Follows (2014)

April 7, 2015 - 8:29pm | FrighT MasteR
  Tags: Animal Kingdom, Daniel Zovatto, David Robert Mitchell, It Follows, Jake Weary, Keir Gilchrist, Lili Sepe, Maika Monroe, Northern Lights Films, Olivia Luccardi

Your rating: None Average: 7.7 (20 votes)
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David Robert Mitchell
Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe

There are two horror films that have been tearing up the scene and getting a lot of hype recently. First was The Babadook, followed by It Follows. Both are indie pics that garnered lots of praise from critics and fans early in their premieres. However, over time fans became pretty split with The Babadook, but I personally liked it and found it smart and scary. As It Follows was gradually released in theaters, I finally got a chance to see what all the fuss was about.

The story focuses around a group of teens, specifically one female named Jay who gets all dolled up to go on a date with a guy she recently met. Like most teenage dates, it ends with the two getting their freaks on in the dude's car. What an end to a seemingly perfect night, right? Well, it would've been had the guy not chloroformed her and strapped her to a chair inside an empty building in the dead of night (deal breaker!). Turns out he just passed along some kind of STD curse to Jay and now an invisible (but can be seen by those recently/last infected) demon/ghost that can take the form of anyone will stop at nothing to kill her. The only way to be rid of it is to pass it along (have sex) with another person,  but if the new person manages to die by the thing it will resume going after the previous person, essentially going down the line.

The movie is definitely overhyped, but I give it points for originality. Sure the story is pretty much a mix of ideas from past films, but it works and director David Robert Mitchell just set up a bunch of new rules; ignoring the usual horror tropes. The flick is also set in some kind of alternate and timeless reality, where things from the past, present and future blend together. For instance everything seems to be set in or around the 80's, but then you have someone using a modern-ish cell phone in one scene and some kindle-like device in the shape of a clamshell (WTF?) in another. Apparently the director intended things to be very "dreamlike" so he meshed all these ideas together. It also gave him a good excuse to deliver a 70s/80s vibe, which is always a plus for me.

To further add to the old school feel, a lot of that Carpenter-ish synth music was used throughout the pic, which I dug for the most part, but found its use early on a little out of place and distracting. Luckily it seemed to get better as time went on. The flick is a slow burn that may turn some people off and the bland acting from the fairly no-name young actors doesn't help either, but you can't really expect superb acting from a horror pic anyway. And while most efforts from the genre deliver clichéd pop scares, It Follows pretty much chose to avoid fooling the audience entirely and just focused on atmosphere and creepiness (good move!). Though, I can't help but feel as there was some lost potential in parts due to its low budget, like the lack of faster paced scenes that showed off more of what the thing is capable of (could've used more scenes like the one at the beach).

As for the demon/ghost/whatever the hell it is--aside from the rules we receive early on, we get no answers as to what the thing is, where it came from or why it does what it does. That's actually fine with me since it leaves it up to the viewer to decide and the answers can always be given to us in potential sequels anyway (something to look forward to). Unfortunately, as kind of expected with a story like this, we're given a pretty abrupt and mediocre ending that just felt like the filmmakers didn't quite know how to end it. While I prefer an ambiguous ending over a shitty one, in this particular case it seemed a little careless. The director is definitely a talent behind the camera (except for when he's spinning it around a little too fast), but at times it seemed like there was a little too much style over substance, especially if you look back at the movie as a whole, but that's just my opinion. In the end it's still a fairly good film, despite being overhyped as the next big thing and having various little issues here and there.

While I found It Follows to be a bit overhyped, it still managed to deliver a pretty creative story and a new set of rules, while at the same time paying homage to a lot of past films in the genre. However, it's not without its faults, as the acting and music can be somewhat distracting at times (along with the spinning camera) and we're left with an abrupt and carelessly ambiguous ending. Also, a slowburn story and creepy atmosphere is chosen over scares, which may turn some people off. Regardless, it's still nice to see something fairly original come out of the genre.

Author Information

FrighT MasteR's picture
FrighT MasteR is an avid horror fan / monster hunter extraordinaire, who created and has been running UHM since its inception, way back in 1999.




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