Writer/Director: David Robert Mitchell
Things staring at you from a distance; it’s horrifying. I’m not sure why. It’s probably an instinctual fear embedded deep in our amygdala. Gazelles probably spotted lions off at a far distance and knew to get the hell out. Stanley Kubric was the king of that. “Eyes Wide Shut” and “The Shinning” implemented that form of horror and it made me eerily uncomfortable. Throw in the vulnerability of sex and the horrors of venereal disease and you got yourself “It Follows”…and it’s terrifying.
“It Follows” tells the story of Jay (Maika Monroe) and her battle with a supernatural sexually transmitted disease. I would like to tell you more about Jay, but she’s fairly barren when it comes to character traits. I never really picked up on any goals or aspirations. She just seems like a rather pleasant nineteen year old girl. Anyway, after a sexual encounter with a budding romance, she’s chloroformed and tied to a wheel chair in an abandoned parking garage (consider that bud sheered). Let the horror beginning. If you don’t want to know the rules to this supernatural-monster-thing, skip the next paragraph.
“It Follows” Rules! Spoilers!
She’s told that she’ll see someone walking toward her. It can look like anyone and its intentions are to kill her. If Jay dies, then it’ll jump to back down to Hugh (Jake Weary), but if she has sex with someone else, then the “It” will start pursuing that person.
End of the Spoiler Rules!
“It Follows” has the similar uneasiness of “Night of the Living Dead.” You can easily get away. You can literally walk away from the danger, but that danger is eternally persistent. You’ll never have a moment to relax. It’s that bombardment of constant pressure that whittles down your resolve. You can pass it off, but there’s still the potential of it coming back to you.
Production wise, there’s a majesty in it’s simplicity. The camera is static most of the time and there isn’t an over abundance of coverage. That in part makes the editing more plodding and methodical, which is kind of perfect for a movie about an aberration sauntering toward you. Nothing really leaps at the camera. It’s more about uneasiness than immediate threats.
As bare bones as the production is, so is the script. Characters don’t have much going for them aside from their first names and a few character traits to set them apart. Usually that’s a major flaw, but it seems ingenious for a movie such as “It follows.” When the “It” is pursuing, the plot is as simple as “get away from It.”
Music. There has to be a paragraph about music. At times, it’s an ambient harmony with a gentle melody serenading you into safety. Other times, it’s five alarm clocks blaring on top of each other with a baseline. It propels the creeping fear to levels that freezes your blood. Much like how Jaws was inexorably enhanced with John Williams, “It Follows” was enhanced by Rich Vreeland.
Overall, “It Follows” preys on many of our innate fears. The paranoia of sexual repercussions coupled with the ever looming sense of being stalked is a hell of a concoction. I’m pretty sure every one who sees this movie will discuss what they would do in a similar situation. David Robert Mitchell created a genuinely scary movie and used very few of the modern horror tropes to do so. Good for you Mr. Mitchell. I’ll be waiting for whatever you do next.
– Spoiler Territory: I wonder if David Robert Mitchell actually knows what “It” is and what it wants. Either way; good job not explaining it or attempting to explain it.
– The screener we received for this movie failed on us a couple times. Watching this movie was an three hour experience.