This film is a difficult one to review because it is a unique piece of cinematography, but at the same time, it owes so much credit to 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s classic horror films. The actual film setting depicts this because it seems to be one which is very modern, but also is one that is greatly splattered with 80’s retro. this 80’s retro can be identified by the original soundtrack, which is performed by Disasterpeace, which gives the film a Halloween-esque, synth tone of ominousness that drives the suspense.
It Follows starts with a young girl who is running up and down a residential area in an extremely agitated way. The girl eventually flees to a nearby beach where the next cut scene is of her in a mangled position of torture. The film then takes shape by centering around Jay (Maika Monroe) and her ‘Scooby gang’ of friends.
The main character Jay, seems to be in a new relationship with Hugh (Jake Weary), a nervy guy who obviously seems agitated by something or someone. The couple attend a screening at the local cinema where Hugh seems to spot something that has him spooked. Eventually, in the way of teen horror flicks, nature takes it course and both Jay and Hugh have sex in a car, which is an obvious nod to 90’s horror Scream, which holds the cardinal rule of ‘sex equals death’. Predictably, but not in the way you’d imagine, everything turns sour because Hugh then proceeds to use chloroform on Jay, where he then ties her to a chair and explains to her a terrifying situation of which she is now central.
Jay is now a recipient of a curse in which a wraith literally doesn’t stop following her and takes the form of either people she knows or a stranger she has never met. Now the actual curse is quite an interesting concept. Basically, a person catches this curse by having sex with a person who is also cursed and the curse can only be passed on by having more sex and so on.
The motive behind the entity following and why it chooses to do so to a person who has had sex with a cursed person is not revealed, nor is the entity’s past, but for me personally, that’s what makes it scary. The fact that the audience doesn’t know what it’s dealing with is a great horror concept that results in questions being asked after the film because it lives long in the memory.
What makes It Follows so brilliantly spooky and increasingly intense is the film’s audience is spent on a knife point because of the fact no one knows when the wraith will appear or what it will look like next. Although the wraith travels at a measly walking speed, which arguably seems laughable at first, the real horror of it all is it will never tire and it will never stop.
David Robert Mitchell has created a film that revels in teen horror cliques and you can see this with the absence of any parental figure or protective presence for the duration of the film, which provides It Follows with a sensation of alienation . What sets it apart from other horror films though is the creation of personality for each character by concentrating on the inter-relationships, an aspect that makes the audience relate to each character instead of waiting for them to be ‘killed off’.
What the film excels in is the tapping into aspects of paranoia. All the way through the film, Jay, who currently hosts the curse is constantly looking around her to see if anyone is walking towards her, so what needs to be stated is a well developed concept of people just casually walking in the background of the frame and they could possibly be the wraith, which creates a constant build up.
It Follows could be arguably described as a metaphor for sexual trauma, which is rife in today’s sex encircled society. The wraith could also represent an attachment of regret or self condemnation that will be forever now latched onto us for the rest of our lives.
Rating 7/10 – a great, original concept of horror, which needs tweaking because of big plot holes. But what horror flick is perfect?