Okay so, I had my doubts about It Follows; horror films have become something of a laughing stock recently, but in fact… this film is really good!
After sleeping with a guy she likes called Hugh, Jay begins to see a mysterious figure approaching her that no one else can see. Its intent on murdering her can only be stopped by passing the curse on to someone else.
I certainly had my doubts about It Follows, I figured it would be a sledgehammered moral story about sexually transmitted disease in the guise of a spooky ghost story. But the critics loved it, and now I can see why.
Horror films today are generally quite terrible: poor scripts, poor screenplays and cliches, or at best: debatable acting, overuse of gore and violence or making everything found-footage.
But It Follows doesn’t trend into any of these modern problems or tropes, at worst you could say its all about teens, again. But that isn’t really the case (and really, horror’s main demographic is teenagers, so it makes sense as a necessary trope).
This is a stalker film, a lot like John Carpenter’s acclaimed Halloween, the camera pans softly and slowly across suburban America, while subtle synth music lifted gently from early 80s thriller and horror genres makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It is a film of omnipresence, our lead character Jay is left mortified and frightened of the world around her, afraid of something no one else can see.
The metaphor that this film hammers in is less about the act of sex and more about the nature of growing up, and the fears of adulthood.
The atmosphere is thick, layered on with stretches of silent ambiance, but our characters do get a chance to act. Jay has friends to help her recover from her initial encounter with Hugh, but they must also help her when things get far, far worse. The acting is decent across the board, the script is minimal but not insultingly mumbling; enough to get the point across. A lot of our young characters intentions and feelings are expressed silently or quietly.
I had plenty of theories as to where the story would develop, but I did not expect the direction the film took. Any escalation throughout the film felt natural and none of it forced. The supernatural “rules” implemented were not exhaustive or convenient to the plot; they were just enough to inspire possible loopholes while at the same time restrict our protagonists. What jump scares there are they are used sparingly, equally so with any visual effects.
It is as simple as it can get, and often with horror films the simpler it is the more haunting and memorable it becomes.
If you are a fan of horror It Follows is a must see, and even if you aren’t but like a old fashioned scare once in a while, this is for you too.