@lcfremont flies in the face of popular opinion…
Just like The Babadook last year, It Follows is THE horror film of the year and if you don’t fall in love with it, then I suggest you keep your lip zipped or move to Antarctica. So, who’s going to try to domesticate some penguins with me?
Written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, It Follows is a throwback/homage to late 70’s, early 80’s horror films. The consensus seems to be that this open love letter to John Carpenter is a welcome breath of fresh air, but I couldn’t disagree more. Riding that very, very fine line between homage and flat out rip off, It Follows is what happens when Halloween, The House of the Devil and A Horrible Way to Die have a baby. I hold all of these films very close to my heart, but the overwhelming feeling of familiarity proved too distracting for this viewer.
If Michael Myers was actually a sexually transmitted disease, he would be IT. IT is transferred from person to person via sex and is always walking a straight path to you until it kills you. IT doesn’t walk quickly, but it isn’t stupid. Never go into a room with only one exit, don’t let it touch you and just f*ck someone else so you can pass it on. Be warned though: if you pass it to someone else and they die, then IT is back on your trail.
Starring the mesmerizing Maika Monroe (The Guest) as Jay, she is the local beautiful, sweet girl who has just been given IT. While running from this unnamed and unexplained entity, Jay is, inexplicably, graced with more than one offer to take IT off of her hands. While I appreciate the alleged chivalry of these young men, it just makes me wonder what kind of magic Jay has between her legs that men would be willing to, quite literally, put their lives in danger.
Although many have looked upon this as a safe sex or AIDS parable, Mitchell has claimed that he has no interest in IT’s origins or motivations, but rather views it as dream logic. The people being hunted by IT are in a nightmare and there really is no end or solution in a nightmare and this overall dream like quality is certainly one of the most wonderful aspects of the film, but, and this is a big BUT, it felt eerily familiar to a lot of Adam Wingard films, all the way down to the 80’s synth music soundtrack. Don’t get me wrong, the film’s score, courtesy of Disasterpeace, is a real gem, but it’s also nothing new if you’ve seen You’re Next, Maniac, The Guest, Starry Eyes or most horror films that have been released in the past couple of years.
Every single thing that makes a movie great is here. The story feels new, the performances are a lovely balance of young apathy mixed with genuine concern and the score is a character in it’s own right and helps propel the story forward. There are some absolutely exquisite wide shots from cinematographer Michael Gioulakis and the inability to pin down a specific time period helps induce the reality bending feel. Jay is immediately likable as are her friends who seem to have nothing to do but sit around and drink all day. Friends since childhood it’s exceptionally easy to buy into the final act of the film, but this is precisely where the magic spell of It Follows is lifted. What happens at an indoor public pool is reminiscent of Let The Right One In with it’s peek-a-boo violence. The unknown and unseen is exactly what makes this movie chilling and when that magic curtain is lifted, the wizard is revealed and this completely took me out of the story. Call it what you please, but once that Cloak of Invisibility was utilized, I was sitting in a movie theatre and no longer at that swimming pool. The special effects are good and you could practically feel some of the objects make contact with Jay, but this abrupt change in tone simply did not work for me. Even more grating was the last moment where the film tried to return me to the original emotional tone. Sorry It Follows, you had me at the fierce diva running in heels and then you lost me with a poltergeist temper tantrum.
It Follows certainly deserves all of the accolades being bestowed upon it and I completely understand why so many have fallen in love with it, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I had seen all of this before.