Director: David Robert Mitchell
Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe, Debbie Williams
Rated: R (disturbing violent and sexual content including graphic nudity, and language)
A young woman is followed by an unknown supernatural force after a sexual encounter.
By Matt Greene
It Follows is a unique horror-movie experience. Instead of effects-heavy monsters, computer trickery, and massive amounts of gore, it relies on refreshingly old-fashioned cinematic techniques to effectively overwhelm its audience. It’s a suburban teen horror film that has more in common with the likes of The Shining than with Halloween. An impressive little indie thriller that earns its shrieks and squirms in honest ways, equal parts poetic and intensely scary, It… deserves to be seen.
The setup of the plot is genuinely difficult to find a way out of: what if a seemingly innocent night of sexual intimacy led to a zombie like creature following you around, and the only way to rid yourself of this ominous being is to pass it on to someone else? We all know the horror trope, that having sex will lead to that characters death, but the message here is more pointed than most. More than just a simple warning about STDs, It Follows has a strangely strong anti-promiscuous sex message. It does this through relatively flat performances and almost goofily slow pacing at times, but more often through spine-chilling imagery that is the stuff of nightmares.
Young director Mitchell, an alum of FSU, is definitely a guy to watch out for. His script is good, but the sights and sounds, the two physical senses used when experiencing any film, of this thing are a piece of technical perfection. Beautiful long takes and shots, perfect use of sound against silence, and a big, dissonant score that is the best in a long time help create an event that will follow you long after you leave the theatre.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
By Cole Schneider
Most movies are built on narrative and character. It’s not that “It Follows” is missing a fully-formed narrative or full-bodied characters, it’s simply that the film’s foundation is something else, “It Follows” is far more interested in mood and theme. A viewer’s response to the film may be directly tied to his or her willingness to give over to this more narrow kind of film. The open-minded will surely be rewarded.
“It Follows” is primarily a mood piece. Cinematically and sonically the film is a direct descendant of John Carpenter. It is patient, atmospheric, and features a synth-score that may be the best I’ve reviewed for this publication to date. While it isn’t a rip-off, Carpenter’s influence doesn’t want to be ignored.
The film uses mood to explore layered, complex themes. The way it weaves together horror and sexuality, or fear and love, is more heavily influenced by David Cronenberg. To reduce the film’s “monster” to an STD allegory is to miss a lot of the film’s intrigue. This is a story about loss, jealousy, ambition, failure, grief, loneliness, desire, despair, and so many other human universals in addition to a caution tale about STDs.
“It Follows” is a stylish and confident take on the horror genre, one that can recall late 70s/early 80s classics while also setting a new tone for the genre. It’s not scary in the traditional sense, but horrifying in a much deeper one and any audience member able to surrender to its dream-like consciousness will find rewards in its dense dread.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars