It Follows is a horror film that is filled with tense atmosphere. Writer-director David Robert Mitchell refrains from using cheap scares, upping the tension to give the film an eerie atmosphere that makes it feel refreshing in a genre that is now filled with overly calculated jumps.
Maika Monore plays Jay, a college student who goes on a date with her new boyfriend (Jake Weary). Things get hot and heavy and soon they’re getting jiggy with it in the back of his car. After the deed is done he informs her that he’s passed on a curse – one that you can only get rid of if you sleep with someone. The curse takes many forms but it will not stop until it kills you. You can run, you can hide – but it will get you.
The metaphor for sex and loss of innocence in horror films is an old one and It Follows makes it plainly obvious. Mitchell embraces this concept and uses it as a stepping off point for some creepy and atmospheric sequences. If you delve deep then it probably doesn’t make too much sense but if you take it for what it is, then you’ll enjoy it.
The young cast all do solid work in their roles and Mitchell does impressive character building over the first act. The protagonists all feel like real people rather than the creation of a screenwriter to move plot form one point to another. Horror movies usually rely on a strong villain, and It Follows manages to create a iconic monster that isn’t instantly recognisable but one that could potentially go on to become an anchor for its own horror franchise.
It Follows is very reminiscent of John Carpenter’s Halloween, while there’s also more than a touch of Wes Carven’s A Nightmare On Elm Street. Carpenter’s inspiration is clear from the lingering camera work of Mike Gioulakis and the score by Disasterpiece, while Craven’s work is obvious from the urban myth concept and the ‘let’s stick together mentality’ of the friends (even Daniel Zovatto’s role is like the Johnny Depp character in Craven’s film).
An enjoyable horror that probably won’t satisfy gore-hounds, It Follows is a well constructed and perfectly realised piece of genre filmmaking. It won’t give you sleepless nights but it will have you on the edge of your seat for most of the running time.
You get a brief chat with It Follows’ composer, Disasterpiece. I wanted more.