Monday, March 30, 2015

A Reel Review: IT FOLLOWS

Let’s face it…all horror movies are inherently silly. From possessive demons, spooky ghosts, slashers with masks who never die, slimy monsters, and serial killers playing God. What makes any of these ideas work for the audience is the ability to make the audience buy into it early on and stay in the moment. In the case of IT FOLLOWS, an old idea with a new twist is presented early and reinforced often, making for what should be another round of silliness a very believable…and scary ride. 

Hugh (Jake Weary) passes onto to Jay (Maika Monroe) a curse in which she, and only she, sees an evil being chasing after her with the intent to kill. The only thing she can do is run, or pass the curse along to someone else. 

IT FOLLOWS takes the old and tired plot of young people being chased by killers and gives it new life; this time the killer can only be seen by one person (whoever is cursed). So right away, the film adds a lot of intrigue as director David Robert Mitchell has a blast in playing games with the characters…and most especially, the audience. The evil always appears in a different form (another person), so the characters and the audience are often left to guess who on the screen can be seen by others and who can’t. IT FOLLOWS keeps us guessing, but doesn’t get too smart for its own good and sticks to what it does best; provide scares. The ground-rules for this supernatural evil are simple, and doesn’t waste any time exploring backstories or ancient history. This is a film that has immediate business to take of first; get scared. 

And the scares are executed perfectly. Not the cheap jump-scares courtesy of loud bangs (although there are a couple effective ones), but thanks to a piss-your-pants feeling of doom that hangs over the entire film. Mitchell builds a fantastic atmosphere of tension and dread. He utilizes every inch of the screen…making the film one of the best-filmed widescreen horror movies ever seen. You can’t help but to scan every bit of the surroundings in hopes of picking up when or where the evil will appear as the camera plods away with slow 360-degree pans and some excellent tracking shots. The music, composed by pulsating techno-organ is enough for anyone to lose their bowels. IT FOLLOWS is a true chiller. 

Acting is superb considering the very young cast. Maika Monroe is terrific as a tortured late-teen, and once the curse takes its hold on her, there’s never a moment that you can’t feel her torment. The rest of the young cast; Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Lili Spe, Jake Weary, and Olivia Luccardi are all excellent. 

IT FOLLOWS settles into a quiet ending without any over-dramatic Hollywood moments or obvious apexes, and really drives home the point that the doom the characters have been going through weren’t just for cheap scares. Perhaps the real genius of the film is that despite having a subtle metaphor going on, it never once becomes preachy and stays right in the sandbox that it knows it belongs in. That, and its commitment to on-the-ground filmmaking (very little CGI, if any) and genuine terror gives it a classical and timeless feel; this movie could have felt right at home in the 1970’s or early 1980’s. It’s truly scary thanks to its simplicity…making it a pure horror film and a breath of fresh air for the genre. 



  1. I loved it! I fully agree with you on this review!

    1. Best horror movie I've seen in years.


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