“It could look like someone you know or it could be a stranger in a crowd. Whatever helps it get close to you,” Hugh explains the thing that follows.
It Follows is a gem in modern horror cinema—it has the class and the curse. It might work as an allegory to STDs or else, but mostly, it works as a terrific coming-of-age myth. Pass it to someone else.
The idea was simple (but nothing quite like this was made before): If you have sex with someone and then he/she warns: “It’s going to follow you. Somebody gave it to me, and I’m passing it on to you.” You will realize: the titular “it” is worse than pregnancy or STDs.
Jay (Maika Monroe) was a common American teenager before she had sex with her inclusive boyfriend who gave her such warning. He’s not joking, “it” might look like anyone, but for sure, it started to follow Jay and tried to kill her. There’s no way she could escape… unless she passes it on to somebody else.
This original horror idea was executed well with focus more on the storytelling and characters rather than on building instant horror with jump-scare. David Robert Mitchell, the director, insisted not to tell the audience what entity it is or how the sex curse originated by making a slow-burning atmospheric horror that sticks to the rule—pass it or die.
It Follows did not rely on instant shocking horror, even the entity was not scary—but the film built the horror and let the audiences chose what made them terrified. Shot mostly in static mode with variation of slow pan over the background, the cinematography insisted the audiences to skim and scan every corner trying to anticipate the thing that follows. That stark atmosphere got reinforced by dreary synth scoring—a tribute to 80s horror films—that presented eerie feeling. Meanwhile, the story kept progressing on without us having been able to predict what will happen in the end—because of the moral ambiguity of the curse.
Maika Monroe, as the one with the curse, delivered an astonishing performance as a helpless girl with unseen trouble. She’s not just some scream queen; she’s a real performer. Her performance hit the spot exactly like what she did in Adam Wingard’s The Guest.
With coming-of-age approach to the story, the film might look like an allegory to AIDS or a moral preaching of teenager’s sexual life. However, save all those themes and back to the roots, It Follows is a terrific entry to modern horror. It’s savvy. It doesn’t try to scare you, it makes you scared on a way you choose; but deep within, it’s only telling a story.
It Follows (2015)
Horror, Mystery Written & Directed by: David Robert Mitchell Starred by: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Olivia Luccardi Running Time: 100 mins Rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content including graphic nudity, and language