It Follows pretty well describes the movie monster introduced in director David Robert Mitchell’s newest feature film. Like the embodiment of a guilty conscious or a bad dream, it will always catch up with you wherever you go. The film offers a new twist on the stalking murderer premise with lots of stylistic homage to its predecessors. Let’s take a look.
The film follows an entity that only its victims can see and it tracks them on foot wherever they go. The characters are warned that the entity is slow, not stupid. The stalking entity is acquired through sex (yes, it’s a STD demon). Heroine Jay (Maika Monroe) picks the curse up from a guy she’s dating. Afterwards, he informs her that the only way to lose the entity’s attention is to find someone new to have sex with and pass it on.
The lack of bigger name actors and some of the location choices suggests low budget filmmaking, but director Mitchell shows immense talent. Much like early John Carpenter, he takes relatively little and makes it look like a million bucks. The story was well written and filmed, with the shots really helping build the atmosphere. There is a loud, ever present, and completely unnerving synth soundtrack that I found a bit heavy handed at times.
I draw parallels to Carpenter because this film seems heavily influenced by Halloween and others of the era. The stalking entity appears as different people and is often placed in the far background ala ‘the shape’. Also, even though it is set in essentially modern day, the characters are living in an early 80’s world. CRT TV’s, 80’s style houses and station wagons are used throughout. This mixed with the score gives It Follows the feel of a giant, loving homage to horror films 1978- 1982.
The director pulls all these elements together into an effective horror film that I found creepy as hell. The dread and paranoia that permeate the film give horror fans a thrill that has been in short supply since shortly after the monster-slashers debuted 30 years ago. Go to this one for the terror, you will not be disappointed.
Adam Ruhl is a writer and life long Cinephile. He is the Executive
Cinema Editor of Pop Culture Beast’s Austin branch; covering festivals,
conventions, and new releases. When not filing reports, Adam can be
found stalking Alamo Drafthouse Programmers for leads on upcoming
DrafthouseFilms titles. Adam once blocked Harry Knowles entrance to a
theater until he was given extra tickets to a Roman Polanski movie.