"It Follows" Review


Do you feel your child is prey to the rampant hook up culture of today? Are your warnings of a tainted marriage and STDs not enough to keep him/her celibate? Well a sufficiently harsh message just came out in theaters last Friday. "It Follows", a horror film by David Robert Mitchell is enough to scare even the most determined teenager out of testing the humidity.

Some horror movies simply stick to real-life scares. Such as a serial killer or a kidnapper. Others choose to employ the supernatural to frighten their viewers. Those that do are challenged with the difficult task of finding the balance between telling-all and leaving the viewer in total confusion. The consequences of either extreme results in an overload of exposition or in the audience leaving the theater saying to themselves, "None of that made any sense... What the hell was going on?” These films must inform the viewer what it is they are dealing with, while keeping that all-important aura of mystery and darkness. "It Follows" manages to do this spectacularly.    

Jay, played by Maika Monroe has sex with Hugh (Jake Weary) a guy she has been dating. Post coitus, Hugh chloroforms her and the next we know she is tied up on the upper floor of an abandoned school building. The vibes are going a certain way until Hugh explains that he isn't going to harm her in any way, and she must listen to what he is about to say even though she probably won't believe any of it. He explains, “Wherever you are, ‘It’ is somewhere walking straight for you”. "It" is slow, but it is also smart. "It" arrives in many forms, could be a stranger, “It” could be a relative. He emphasizes that she cannot by any means let "It" catch her. He advises Jay to keep her eyes open, keep moving, and pass "It" on to someone else just it has been passed to her, by (insert euphemism for sex). It is important the next person keeps passing it on, as "It" will simply kill the previous inheritor after the most recent one is caught. As Hugh wraps up his talk he points out a nude woman lumbering up to the building. "You see it?!?", he exclaims. Hugh then waits for the woman to enter the building and approach Jay before rolling her away and driving her back home. Hugh dumps her in the street and drives away. So now it is Jay who must contend with the curse.

The storyline is simple, and the film moves quickly. Shot in the suburbs of Detroit, the run down houses and ragged buildings are already there for director David Robert Mitchell to exploit for their creepiness. The otherwise boring landscape shots are made into spine tingling moments thanks to a vividly eerie score from Disasterpeace.

The entire film is so captivating that the underlying message of "It Follows" is subtle. Having sex with someone you barely know won't result in an invisible stalker set out to mutilate and kill you. To declare that to your children would be ridiculous. However, "It Follows" uses simple and effective tactics to frighten the viewer, while delivering the message that sex comes with attachments that can be physical or emotional. To assert that sexual intercourse can be like tennis in that it is "just an activity" is just as illusory as the story of a shape shifting being constantly walking in a straight line to kill you.