We’ve all heard the buzz for this film. After seeing the trailer a few months ago I was dying to see it in theaters. Sadly, the limited release did not make it to my neck of the woods. Luckily, this film did so well on it’s limited release that it was given a wide release just two weeks later. While I don’t necessarily agree that it is the scariest movie of the decade, like most of the hype claimed, it is definitely an amazing film that checks all the boxes for me.
The film focuses on a young girl named Jay (played by the very talented Maika Monroe). We see Jay falling for a guy that she just started dating. On the night she decides to finally have sex with him, things take a turn for the worst. After their fling, Jay discovers that something was passed to her through the sexual encounter. Now something is following her. It will never stop, and it can look like a stranger or someone she knows. The only way she can be rid of it is if she passes the curse on to someone else, implying that the entity that follows is essentially a supernatural STD. While this concept could be laughable if not done correctly, director David Robert Mitchell keeps the film sexy, stylish, and unnerving.
There were three very successful aspects of this film; the storyline, the music, and the lack of special effects (I know that sounds weird, but I will explain). The storyline was very original and kept you on edge. With the exception of a few good scares, there isn’t much that happens that makes you jump out of your seat. Instead, there is constant tension that you feel knowing this thing could be anyone. It is getting closer and closer to you, and you might not even know if it’s right next to you. In a way this was slightly reminiscent of Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead. In both films, what is chasing you isn’t necessarily fast moving, but it is still so horrifying because it will do everything it can to get to you and destroy you, creating a constant state of tension. And of course, both films are considered very original for their time.
The music may have been my favorite aspect of It Follows. It kind of had an eighties feel to it with lots of high keyboard notes and synth sounds. It created a sound that was both whimsical and ominous at the same time, which perfectly suited what was happening from scene to scene. Some of the greatest horror movies are known for the music that puts viewers in the right state of mind, such as the score from Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Jaws. Just like those classic films, the score for It Follows was beautiful, while at the same time it made me feel very uncomfortable because I knew something evil was coming.
As I state before, another great part of this film is the fact that it had virtually no special effects. These days, that may seem insane. Every horror movie these days seems to have over the top special effects, whether it be CGI or practical effects. This movie didn’t need all that, especially because the evil always looks like a normal person. There were only a couple instances where they used what I assume was CGI, but it was done in such a subtle way that you don’t even really think about special effects being used in the scene. It just feels like a natural part of what is occurring. This seemed to almost add the the scare factor because everything just seemed so real, like this thing could easily be following you too and you would never know.
The only thing that could be considered a negative for this movie is more just an issue that I have. Personally, I like all the answers in movies to be neatly wrapped in a pretty bow to explain why everything is happening. This movie gave absolutely no explanation and left everything open to your interpretation. This normally would annoy me to no end. That being said, I do not believe this movie would have been as good as it was if they had gone into this whole origin story with the creature explaining what it was and why it is following people.
Please go see this movie. It is the kind of movie that makes you think about it for days afterwards, which means they did a great job. I definitely believe you should see it in theaters as well, not just because it was a great movie, but because it is important to support great horror movies by seeing them in theaters. This film has already beat the odds by going from limited release to wide release, so let’s keep that trend going!
OVERALL RATING: 9/10