It Follows – 2015
Written and Directed by David Robert Mitchell
Starring Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe
We’re well past the era of slasher movies. Kind of beyond torture porn. The neat thing about horror and suspense is that after the trends, and often during them, someone will come along with a movie that just plain scares you with nothing more than imagination. David Robert Mitchell has discovered the key to making a movie that makes one fear for their life is by simply being about life.
Jay (Monroe) is a college girl with a crush. She values her sexuality like any being who is on the edge of – if slightly over – seventeen. After a few cute dates, she surrenders herself to another teen (Weary) who then informs her of the magnitude of her choice in him as a partner. The gist of it is that she will be followed. By what or whom, we cannot know. It changes and is only visible to those with the curse. The distinguishing characteristic is that it is slow, but deliberate. If it catches her and kills her, the curse reverts back to the one that gave it to her. He proves it to her and she is a horrified.
She is then dropped off in the street at her house. Half-naked and dazed, she recounts her experiences to people who believe that something happened to her and the one she was with made crazy insinuations.
Trying to get back to life, she goes to her classes again, only to see an old woman (above) walking across the campus right towards her. This droves her to share this information with her friends. They do the thing that teenagers would do, which leads eventually to the proverbial cabin on the lake out-of-town. It follows. Thank goodness the film doesn’t stop there with tons of dead teens and bad decisions.
Mitchell has taken the best part of the horror classic Halloween and the works of George Romero turned them into something original. He has an eye for visual stanzas that are at once ordinary and curious. The best thing about his style is that he makes everything plain for the viewer to see, but does not bother to explain the motivation of the entity in pursuit. The result is added tension and a heightened realism.
The acting is excellent for such a small film. Each character is real and seems powerless to adulthood, much less this thing that follows them. They get bored. They eat the wrong things. They have unrequited love. They look awkward and beautiful all at once.
The reveals for the entity are inventive for those not part of the curse. It is fun to see how fear transcends plain old eyesight. The blank countenance of the pursuers and their varying states of disrepair open the mind to all sorts of possibilities. The work is a tribute but it manages to transcend. See this film if you want to know fear that opens the mind.