Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
For nineteen-year-old Jay, Autumn should be about school, boys and week-ends out at the lake. But after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, she finds herself plagued by strange visions..
Maika Monroe – Jay
Keir Gilchrist – Paul
Daniel Zovatto – Greg
Jake Weary – Hugh
Olivia Luccardi – Yara
As the movie progressed, I kept wondering where the hell we were; 1978? 1982? The knee-high socks and old fashioned dial television sets should have been a giveaway, but I couldn’t tell. But hey, it worked anyway. It Follows is not your conventional horror movie and is far from the cliché crap produced in this day and age. Although some recent horrors have been quite good, they all follow the same style. There has to be an incredulous parent or spouse. There has to be a twist. There have to be oblivious neighbours who are only a few feet away, yet are never called upon for help. It Follows veers away from all this and slides nicely into its own unique category. And the old fashioned, natural setting adds to its dynamics superbly. The era the movie is set in is void of things like iPhones or the internet – any technology you’d see in movies nowadays, making way for the simple household telephone as the most popular piece of social communication. I liked this element; the kids having nothing or no one to fall back on but themselves, very 90’s.
The movie opens on a suburban street at dusk. As the sun sets and darkness begins to take hold, a young girl bursts through the front door of a house. She staggers into the road (some great dizzying camerawork here) and runs down the street, being chased by something only she can see..
I was surprised at how entertaining I found this scene. I was instantly intrigued, staring at the screen the whole time whilst frowning and whispering, “what..the..FUCK?” – it was very original, the fact us viewers couldn’t see what the girl was being hunted by. This was definitely the winning element here – invisible predator. The threat wasn’t ‘in your face’ or carrying weapons or wearing a mask. It simply – wasn’t there. It could have been anything. Brilliant.
The atmosphere created by the setting and performance throughout this movie reminded me of old horror classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street, or Halloween. A terrified teenager running across a peaceful suburban street at night, the lead character walking to school and spotting a strange figure which suddenly vanishes behind a bush, etc. These old fashioned, forgotten feelings began to stir once again as I sat watching It Follows. And I enjoyed it. This was a horror movie with minimal requirements, relying only on its own bizarre concept to deliver the scares.
I was loving the originality of this movie. The entire thing was ribboned with a sinister atmosphere, and the story itself showed great imagination on the writer’s part. It Follows reminded me a little of a series of books I collected as a teenager. In the mid-90’s there was a genre of book called Point Horror, separate scary stories each written by various authors but all part of the same range. They were more for teenage readers as some of them were quite gruesome or twisted – definitely not for young eyes. And this movie brought back that same flicker of gripping entertainment these books gave me. Again, the old fashioned setting and overall concept is what makes this movie as unique as it is. So it’s ironic that this old fashioned style brought back personal old fashioned memories.
So, what is ‘it’..?
Before seeing this movie, I got the impression from the trailer that ‘it’ was invisible – more of a feeling than a being. As though the main character could feel something coming at her, but couldn’t actually see it. However, ‘it’ is a person – and can be any sort of person. For example, the first thing Jay sees when ‘given It’ is a naked woman. Later on it’s a girl in tatty clothing. Then it’s (I actually found him quite freaky) a very tall man (think Lurch from The Addams Family). ‘It’ continues to take form of various people, each coming for Jay. And I must point out the way they come for her is great – because they do it slowly. Another reference to Halloween here, but think Michael Myers; he strides at a medium pace towards his victims – doesn’t run – but still radiates the sense of dread and terror a predator running towards his victim would. Yes, ‘It’ definitely follows. Which means it can take as much time as it wants to reach Jay..
To heighten the anticipation, ‘It’ appears – and begins to approach Jay – at random intervals. Like nothing I’ve seen in a horror movie before, the predator actually takes its time. Like a friend you asked to come over “when free”, it could turn up in a few minutes. Sometimes it arrives in a few hours. Jay has no idea when it’s going to turn up – but blended with this anticipation is its almost camouflage quality; the fact it could take form of anyone, thus making her unsafe at any time. This is a horror movie terror that bides its time which I found interesting, because until someone starts walking toward Jay, it’s potentially everywhere.
I have to be honest – the sex scenes in this movie are fantastic. It appears the only way to pass ‘It’ to someone else is by having sex with that particular person (not great if it’s someone you dislike). Jay is passed ‘It’ by Hugh – a young chap she starts dating – by way of penetration. Weird, huh? But true. The pair have sex in the back of his car one night, which leads to her plagued by the vision of a ghostly woman shortly after. Bingo – bang someone and you’ve passed this thing on to them. And as I said, the sexual intercourse in this movie is fantastic. During the scene where Jay lies in a hospital bed after surviving a near-fatal accident, she confides in her neighbour Hugh about this thing that seems to be following her, and that the only way to rid herself of it is by having sex with the next victim. So what should a good neighbour do?
Tap her of course!
Jay readies herself on the bed as a shirtless Greg slides under the covers and mounts her. He pulls his underwear down and flexes his hips downwards – then slowly up as he begins to enter her.. good god I was blushing. This sex was fantstic, the way in which Greg (Zovatto) grinded his way around Jay was hot. Gyrating and pumping his hips in such a smooth style, it’d make a porn star take note. This was some beautiful banging, and made an otherwise very plain looking guy look rather sexy.
At first, I thought the idea of It Follows was to highlight very subtley the issue of sexually transmitted diseases. You know – have sex with someone and you pass ‘it’ on. I.E. have sex with someone and pass on the disease. But far from syphillis, this was a concept involving sex for a different reason.
One thing I found annoying was even though ‘It’ was supposed to be following Jay, she spends most of her time scanning the area in front of her. An example would be a scene towards the end of the movie where she and a friend are walking along her street. As they stride along, a person clearly appears in the distance behind them – yet the pair seem to be more focused on the area around and in front of them. That’s not great really, is it? Wondering what could possibly be coming at you, when the thing could easily swoop in from behind you.
These kids need to be more vigilent.
It Follows is – dare I say – fantastic. And it’s fantastic because of how different it is. Unlike any horror I’ve seen before, this movie used an incredibly simple concept to create the chills, which really creeped me out. Praise goes to those involved in the creation of the movie’s soundtrack – the loud clanging and bashing played whilst an eerie scene was unfolding were fantastic; really good scores, and like the movie itself some of it was proper twisted. Brilliant. The ending left a lot to be desired – I was actually rather disappointed. It certainly wasn’t the way I wanted or expected It Follows to close. Apart from that, a bizarre and good little flick. Not an award winner though – if you’re expecting the usual American horror with the predator running around with knives or guns, you’ll either be pleasantly surprised or disappointed.
Before seeing the movie, I assumed ‘It’ would be invisible – not take the form of actual people – and my opinion is still half and half on this. In a way, something following the main character she can’t see would have been ingenious. Having her feel like there’s something there like a ghost creeping up on her, causing dread instead of the random characters who popped up during the movie would have been so much better. Plus the fact the characters who do pop up also baffled me. I mean, who the hell were they? Relatives? Victims? And then of course, my most important query: how many guys was she going to have to fuck to pass it on? The guy who originally gave it to her seemed to shrug it off immediately – poor Jay just has to keep fucking. Jesus, poor thing must have been exhausted.
Still, at least she’s getting some.
Worth a watch if you fancy something different.