Directed by David Robert Mitchell
Starring Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Jake Weary
Rarely does a horror film end up as a stylized piece of perfection like David Robert Mitchell's It Follows. Bringing to mind the films of David Lynch and horror masters like John Carpenter, It Follows is a slow-burning masterpiece riddled with great performances, genuine scares, and beautiful images.
Jay is a fun-loving college freshman with life at her fingertips. After a movie date with her boyfriend turns eery, the two find themselves in the back of his car. After their backseat rendezvous, things go from pleasant to horrific as, what seems to be a curse, begins haunting every move Jay makes. This chain reaction following by supernatural beings is linked to sexual partners. There's no end to the curse, as Jay soon finds out, but fighting it is the only way to keep living.
Maika Monroe, a relative newcomer, is easily the stand-out performer as Jay. The journey from confident teenager to broken human being is brilliantly weighed down by her ever-increasing performance. She's that friend that everyone likes, all the girls wish they could be, and all the boys want to be with. But, she isn't a bitch. She's the ultimate girl-next-door.
It Follows is ripe with interesting filmmaking choices. Some may feel director Mitchell is a bit pretentious in his technique, but it works on an impressive level as each twist and turn seems to slowly evolve on the screen, literally, with cleverly paced transitions and rotating camera work that brings the subtle undertones close and closer. Built with music cues to die for, the edge-of-your-seat factor is at an all-time high.
The style may be the most interesting aspect. Mitchell has created a world that looks and feels straight out of 80s-era Detroit, from the cars they drive, houses they live in, and decor all around. Even the technology is mixed with throwback devices, or lack thereof. Not a single one of the teenagers carry a cell phone and phone calls, in general, take place on land-line phones you'll remember from your childhood. The throwbaack feel, mixed with the glowing art direction and cinematography, make every image on screen equally delightful and terrifying.
The plot leads to many a conversation about what it all means. That's the fun in It Follows. Does it have a deeper meaning? Without giving anything away, I think the film is a commentary on teenage love versus real love. There's definitely an interesting moniker felt as true feelings take the place of emotional feelings that can only be had by a teenager. That invincible courage you feel before adulthood takes over is a nostalgic driving force to each move Jay and her friends take. Much like coming-of-age films, It Follows is the type of horror film that defines a time in everyone's life.
This will be a film remembered for years to come.
Runtime: 100 minutes