MOVIE REVIEW: IT FOLLOWS / CERT: TBA / DIRECTOR: DAVID ROBERT MITCHELL / SCREENPLAY: DAVID ROBERT MITCHELL / STARRING: MAIKA MONROE, KEIR GILCHRIST, DANIEL ZOVATTO, OLIVIA LUCCARDI, JAKE WEARY, LILI SEPE / RELEASE DATE: TBA
Sex and horror movies have gone together for decades but writer/director David Robert Mitchell gives us a film where it’s intrinsic to the plot.
Young, attractive Jay (Monroe) goes on a date with the mysterious Hugh (Weary) and they end up having sex. All fairly normal, until he drugs her and she wakes up tied to chair. He explains to her that she’ll be followed by something that will kill her if she doesn’t have sex with someone else. If the infected person doesn’t have sex with someone else, it’ll kill them and move back to the previous person, and so on. The ‘it’ can take the form of any person, living or dead, and doesn’t stop until it finds you. And no-one else can see it. Basically, it’s the worst STD you can hope for – a sexually transmitted demon, if you will.
When Jay inevitably starts to see things, her friends put it down to post-traumatic stress, but one by one they realise it’s real and desperately try to help her escape it.
We’ve had the likes of Scream and Cherry Falls deal with horror clichés like sex in a postmodern way. However, It Follows takes itself much more seriously, and with an effective, simple concept is one of the creepiest films in recent years. The concept might sound amusing at first, but the film is intelligent and ignores many tired factors of horror movies while maintaining a familiar formula. It Follows doesn’t focus on the sexual aspect like many other films would, but more on the moral dilemmas Jay and her friends face, and how she literally has to run away from her problems.
For a horror film, there are very few deaths or even major scares - a downfall given the promising start - but the suspense and tension drive the film. You end up looking over the characters’ shoulders more than they do, wondering if that person walking in the background is the evil force coming to get them, or what form it’s going to take (it can often look quite horrible).
The highlight of the film is the incredible electronic soundtrack, an intentional and wonderfully executed throwback to ‘80s horror films. The atmosphere reminds you of A Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween, albeit more in tune with the dream-like graphic novel Black Hole.
Some ‘rules’ are established in the film, which will no doubt be dissected by many fanboys on the forums, and much of the film’s originality leaves a welcome opening for a sequel. At the London Film Festival, STARBURST asked Mitchell if there’d be one and he said he wasn’t sure yet. He did reveal that the idea for It Follows came from a recurring nightmare he’d had as a child - being constantly followed by something unstoppable, a nightmare many of us can probably relate to.
Expected Rating: 6 out of 10