A deadly curse is passed on to 19-year-old Jay after she has sex with her new boyfriend. Beings (only she can see) take the shape of loved ones or strangers from passing by and slowly track her down. The only way of attempting to rid herself of this treacherous curse is to ‘pass it on’ by sleeping with somebody else.
I think the biggest challenge I had with this film is the fact that I went into it hoping to be terrified. It Follows is most certainly not that kind of thrill ride. In a fairly similar vain to last years horror triumph The Babadook, David Robert Mitchell’s supernatural stalker fest is more metaphorically powerful than what we’ve recently become accustomed to with ultra-shock horror flicks such as Annabelle or The Pyramid.
This is a fantastic psychologically thought-provoking picture compared to your typical shocks-by-the-dozen kind of movie. As a viewer, you witness a gradual yet momentarily climactic sense of dread as Jay attempts to flee from the terrifying ‘followers’, which are possibly one/some of the creepiest type/s of horror villains I’ve seen for a long time. Very zombie-like in the way they approach their victims but much more unsettling as they appear completely silent. The intensity of seeing ‘it’ moderately switch from a singular perspective (of Jay) to the whole group of friends works perfectly. It’s surprising that, not only has this kind of cinematic monstrosity not been deployed before, but that neither have we previously witnessed this ‘pass the curse on’ premise. And it’s great to see it contextualized using sex as a means of infection. If you will, an STG (Sexually Transmitted Ghost.)
Overall, it’s a powerfully effective metaphor for the overwhelming pressure one faces when dealing with issues of adolescence and coming of age. It reflects a sense of ‘something’ within us dying when engaging with sexuality. Along with the general confusion so many of us feel when experiencing this tender and complex part of our lives – (or perhaps how some of us might feel throughout our entire lives).
It works much better when viewed as an art-house feature because of its level of subtext, striking visuals, and its incredible neo-noir soundtrack by Rich Vreeland aka Disasterpiece. All of these factors draw obvious comparisons to legendary horror filmmaker John Carpenter and on viewing you’ll find it hard not to notice his influence all over this film.
It Follows really isn’t for everyone and I’m not surprised to see it doing so poorly with a mainstream audience. As I’ve mentioned before this is a brilliant experimental horror flick. If you’re a fan of 80’s horror in any form then you will love this. If you’re not then I think you might struggle.
4 Creepy Tall Men out of 5
by Simon Garganera Price