It Follows is one of the most original horror movies I've seen in a long time. So much so, that the DVD is on my viewing list for tonight, Halloween night, when I'll be introducing Mrs P to its dark, disturbing delights.
Intrepid film reviewer Tina Teso is also a fan, and so here's the lady herself with a special Halloween treat, a guest review of It Follows.
Or how this review almost made me crack because I didn't want to include spoilers.
I love rules. Perhaps it's a result of being the oldest kid in the family, but I love a well ordered universe, and especially a well ordered movie universe. One of the defining hallmarks of a traditional slasher film is a singular rule of survival. In Nightmare on Elmstreet, don't fall asleep. In Friday the 13th, don't have sex. Name a zombie movie, don't get bitten. Poorly constructed stories can really benefit from avoiding over complicated villains (I'm talking to you, Blumhouse Productions). Darkness Falls (2003) and Wes Craven's They (2002) are two mediocre films where the requirement for the characters to survive was to stay in the light. All that being said, It Follows has a simple idea that is well executed: Don't let It touch you.
It Follows centers around a college girl, Jay. After engaging in intercourse with a new boyfriend, he drugs Jay and ties her up. There are a lot of assumptions that can be made with this scene, but instead he shows her It. The ambling supernatural creature that has been haunting him, and will now come after Jay. His warning is simple: If you let It touch you, you will die, the safest thing for Jay to do is to pass it on to someone else. If the person It is following dies, it goes back through the chain, so no one is ever truly safe from this creature.
The creature itself is frightening in that only the infected can see it, and it can take on any form, it could be a stranger or it can be someone you know. It will walk to you, and it is slow, but it will find you.
At a glance, the film is an allegory for the dangers of sex with strangers. Look a little more closely, though, it's also about the fear of adulthood. As It terrorizes her, Jay seeks out sanctuary at childhood sites: The playground, her pool, a friend's lake house. Jay also enlists her friends for help. What's great about the kids in this working class suburb of Detroit is that the director doesn't over explain the relationship or dive into an origin story of their history together (I'm talking to you every Terminator sequel since the third one). They are friends or acquaintances of varying ages and degrees of closeness, but they believe Jay because Jay believes she's being followed. And of course, the group's big confrontation with It is as childish and as seriously executed as only kids can do.
The film and it's score pays homage to all the beloved horror flicks of this type, and reminds me quite a bit of David Cronenberg's venereal horror of the 1970's and 1980's like Shiver (1975) and Rabid (1977), but it loses none of it's originality. So go see this movie, and if you sleep with a stranger and It starts following you, I have a suggestion: Bang yourself a cosmonaut and buy yourself some time, happy Halloween!
Check it out here.
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