On the Silver Screen – It Follows

Feb 28, 2015 | Posted by in Movies
It Follows

David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows focuses on 19 year old Jay (Maika Monroe) who finds herself cursed after sleeping with a guy she’s been seeing.

The curse takes the form of a relentless ghostly presence that follows the victim until it catches them. Once it does that then death immediately follows. It can be passed on by having sex with someone else but that’s not the end of it. Once it kills the person it has been passed to it goes back to the previous person.

It’s a bit of an obvious metaphor for STDs and framing the story around teenagers helps to illustrate that point. The whole idea of the dangers of sex and the consequences of doing it have been fodder for horror movies probably for as long as they have existed. It’s a good metaphor to use as it’s simple and relatable and this film handles the subject matter really well. You can catch it and pass it on but never get rid of it sums up the situation here pretty perfectly.

The cast is quite small with Jay and her friends almost exclusively filling the movie. They all seem like pretty normal suburban teenagers who don’t have a care in the world and are therefore ill equipped to deal with a supernatural horror. I found the characters to be a bit flat for the most part with very little in the way of personality to most of them. Maika Monroe was good as Jay but didn’t really have a lot to work with for the most part. She does manage to scream a lot and portrays terror pretty well. The rest of the cast felt really underdeveloped and only seemed to exist to give Jay someone to talk to for the most part.

In many ways underdeveloped characters don’t really matter a great deal because the film was put together so well. The silent lumbering antagonist that relentlessly pursues its victim was great and the fact that it could take any form made things interesting. Most scenes are in outdoor areas with lots of people wandering about so it could literally be anyone. Having the ghostly presence out of focus and away from the center of the frame some of the time really adds to the randomness of the encounters.

It FollowsIt bears mentioning that there doesn’t seem to be any parental supervision for these teenagers at any point. Jay is running around her house screaming and knocking things over but the parents don’t seem to exist to question this. Beyond a few mentions here and there they have no presence in this story at all. It’s something that threw me while watching.

Almost every scene feels really unsettling the the uncertainty of when the next attack will be really helps ramp up the tension. Every footstep and every noise gets the focus of the audience as they wait to see if it heralds an attack. I found myself scanning every location trying to figure out who the attacker might be. It really was brilliantly put together. I really liked that most of the film was set outside and moves away from the standard claustrophobic horror. It’s more risky to make a well lit wide open space seem intimidating but Mitchell manages it well.

The film does feel a little on the long side despite the fact that it’s only 100 minutes long. Most of the pacing issues come at the beginning as things are being set up. There are some pacing issues in the middle but on the whole it improves once the story really picks up. At times the dialogue feels a bit clunky as well with some overlong speeches that seem a little too deep for your average teenager.

  • 8/10
    It Follows - 8/10


A strong and well presented horror movie that manages to effectively build tension throughout.

At times the pacing is a little off and the characters feel a little thinly written but given how effectively executed the horror premise is a lot of it can be forgiven.

The supernatural force being a slow and lumbering relentless pursuer was a great touch. Watching the creature walk towards Jay slowly without stopping made for some really tense scenes. Relentlessness is always unsettling but the director David Robert Mitchell makes the most out of the potential and frames most of the scenes in such a way that they are all tense and unwelcoming. Atmosphere is something this film has in spades.

A lot about this film worked and it should definitely be checked out by people that like intense horror and want to feel uneasy the next time they’re in a well lit public place. Definitely memorable.

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