Not much to say to preface this one, other than i watched this on Netflix (whoopee doo right?)
It Follows is about a monster that follows you around and kills you.
The film follows in the well tread footsteps of Carrie, Ginger Snaps, and The Babadook in making its horror a metaphor for some sort of uncertainty or suffering. The obvious metaphor in the film is that of a fear of STD’s and promiscuity, and it is apparent from the movie’s first moments where the opening victim tries to out run some unseen menace in her underwear and a pair of pumps. While the monster itself having the ability to become anyone; mostly takes the form of victims of violence (notably sexual violence in its initial encounters).
There’s also an ongoing motif of swimming pools and water, which has been traditionally used as a metaphor for cleansing, life, and freedom. However in this film i feel it takes on a meaning for the innocence of youth; with Jay being introduced in the movie being in a swimming pool before she is “infected” by the monster, and retreating to a playground after a particularly terrifying episode.
Other characters often reminisce about simpler times as they head into their early adulthood, or try to find emotional reprieve from the monster’s pursuit. Visual and auditory cues about water’s haven are in abundance, with the most obvious being the creature doesn’t like to get in it.
Writer/director David Robert Mitchell thankfully knows how to build effective horror, using incredibly slow pacing to build an expectation of dread in me; to the point where i was scared by a shot of an empty window by the end of the movie. The monster’s calm and pursuit is suitably creepy, and never lost its effectiveness in being unnerving to watch.
All of this is backed up by a John Carpenteresque score provided by Rich Vreeland aka Disasterpiece. Which blends in nicely with the film’s ambivalent setting, by inching it closer to the 80’s.
While Mitchell and the rest of the creative crew of the film provides effective horror, nothing here is particularly new; as metaphorical monsters are as old as horror itself. The film also doesn’t escape from characters behaving in obviously stupid ways in order to set up more scares, like when Paul leaves Jay alone and Jay just stays behind when she has adamantly said she didn’t want to be left alone.
Speaking of characters i have to wonder where the parents are in all of this, as Mitchell clearly wants to create a Goonies vibe where a pack of kids solve an issue and school, work, and the rents are just left out of it. And it’s bizarre that Jay’s parents take such a hands off approach considering their daughter was seemingly raped, is stressed out, and i likely missing work/school in the aftermath. This omission comes to a head when the monster takes the form of Jay’s father and i didn’t even realise until i looked it up later.
Quentin Tarantino had some interesting criticisms about the movie and though i disagree with most of his critiques about the consistency of the monster, there are times where i definitely agree the film makers cheated with their rules in order to get the most scares in the moment.
It Follows succeeds where others fail in using its pacing and a creepy monster to create an effective horror atmosphere. However it doesn’t get away from some of the old clichés of the genre, and while there is a bit of substance under the hood of this film it isn’t a ground breaking or revelatory work.
Still it’s scary, and that’s what really matters in a horror movie.
OUT OF FIVE