'It Follows' proves exceptional horror still exists
April 8, 2015
It does not stop, it does not reason, it does not speak, and "It Follows" is the rare horror film that peaked my interest and proves good horror still exists.
Jay (Maika Monroe) has found a man she can call her own. He’s real nice and can charm the pants off of you. One instant of sex later, though, and Jay is knocked out and tied to a chair in an old building. She is disoriented, but she can hear the boyfriend who drugged her saying that she now has a curse on her. And she sees it.
It is your mother, it is your brother, it is your little sister, and it is your best friend. It walks slowly, patiently towards you to do the unspeakable to you. Jay sees this, fears this, and even the help of her friends may not be enough to stave this horror. Jay is being followed, and she may suffer things worse than what that haunting creature will do to her.
"It Follows" may not be on the radar for some, but it certainly was for me when I heard the hype going on about it. My interest was peaked and I decided to check it out knowing full well that I tend to brush off modern horror, since so many modern horror flicks tell me in each trailer that it’s nothing but jump-scares and body horror with no real terror to be had.
As I watched "It Follows," though, I was revealed something else that made me think back to the classic times of John Carpenter horror and fear inspired by paranoia that a film could do to you. This film struck a chord with me and cemented in my head as a big change for horror films that I hadn't seen before.
Though advertisements for this film may underplay it all, "It Follows" is actually pretty smart. Characters interact well with each other and the originality of a creature that follows those who pass a curse on through sex is utilized to a pretty good extent. Characters are fleshed out enough, and as a result one cares much more for them to try and get out of this terrible nightmare.
Speaking of nightmares, the cinematography and musical score of "It Follows" anything but, it's outstanding, especially for the inexperienced director David Robert Mitchell ("The Myth of the American Sleepover"), who had only directed one film before "It Follows."
Mitchell handles each scene in the film beautifully to illustrate the paranoia and sense of being followed that the characters feel (one 360 degree rotation shot simulates perfectly the feeling of watching one’s back). The film also gives just enough information in its editing and writing to give you the right idea and move on, which might frustrate some viewers trying to follow but sat just fine with me.
Musically "It Follows" may stick in peoples' heads more than any horror film before. Its use of harsh synthesized riffs call back to the music of John Carpenter’s "Halloween" and so much of the time puts you on edge and feeds your anxiety for what happens next. You won’t forget the score anytime soon, even if it can enhance the film so much and set such a dreaded tone for events to come.
Though there isn’t much that can be said of the actors (most are unknowns), they all deliver quite well here in the anachronistically-set film that seems half-way in the 1970s and half in the modern era. The actors, along with many of the other elements in this film, show a clear style from Mitchell that both honors its horror predecessors and creates its own thing.
If it cannot be repeated enough I would say to go see "It Follows" in whatever theater you can. It is a great step in the world of horror that brings a lot of new things to the well-bloodied table that is modern horror, and it will stay in your head like a nightmare you can’t forget.
Ryan Funes is a lover of all things movie, TV, video games and stories and wants to become a television writer someday. In his spare time he enjoys hanging with friends, tapping into his imagination, and watching cartoons of all kinds.