top of page
  • cobykiefert

'It Follows' (2015)/Written & Directed by David Robert Mitchell/Grade: A

Source: Radius TWC

It Follows is a masterful work of sheer suspense and tension, a nerve-shredding paranormal thriller that aspires to be even more than that, and succeeds. With impeccable craftsmanship, lifelike performances and characterization, as well as a deceptively simple premise, it leaves you reeling and thinking long after the credits roll. It's quite the experience.

Source: Radius TWC

The film centers around nineteen-year-old Jay (Make Monroe), an innocent young woman who's dating a cute guy named Hugh (Jake Weary). After the two eventually have sex, it's revealed that Hugh has actually passed something on to Jay, which is referred to only as 'it'. This thing is a paranormal entity that hunts you down after sexual encounters, unless you can give it to someone else and move the cycle along. What makes It even more terrifying is its ability to assume the appearance of anyone at any given moment. Betrayed, confused and afraid, Jay and her friends must now scramble to stay one step ahead of It.

Source: Radius TWC

Where It Follows positively shines in terms of its scare factor is David Robert Mitchell's outstanding staging and blocking of the scenes. That atmospheric effect is also aided by Mike Gioulakis' dreamlike and sinister cinematography. Much like in John Carpenter's Halloween- a film Mitchell clearly drew much inspiration from- actors are often arranged in the frame to where you're always keeping an eye out for that one stranger who keeps lurking forth, whereupon the use of negative space adds to the fear factor. Even with the occasional violent scenes, that unsettled feeling comes more from the buildup of It, not so much the payoff (though when we finally see what It does with one of its victims, you won't forget the image anytime soon).

However, this movie is more intelligent than to merely be content to deliver the cheap thrills. Through the most simple yet often subtle touches, the writing, acting and staging coalesce to form a striking allegory for STDs. It is very much the supernatural equivalent of such, and signals the end of Jay's innocence after she finally does the deed. The horror of It's lore is amped by the aforementioned need to pass it along to someone else, much like how STDs can easily be spread amongst multiple people. But on an even more primal level, it's a meditation on that loss of childhood innocence that happens when we grow into adults, and the grim reality that comes with that.

Source: Radius TWC

The aftermath of Jay's experience with Hugh, an inciting incident that occurs under false pretenses, also functions as an intelligent allegory for sexual assault, and the trauma that accompanies it. Through Maika Monroe's outstanding performance, the camera angles and movement, we feel the same constant nagging apprehension that Jay feels. She conveys a sense of sheer violation that, like the titular entity, follows Jay everywhere. It's a beautifully nuanced and haunting bit of subtext.

It Follows also gathers a lot of its dreamlike slow-burn tone and feel from Julio C. Perez IV's editing. While he does cut the scare scenes together to maximum effect, Mr. Perez IV does himself one better. The rhythm of when one shot progresses to the next, the utilization of tracking shots, closeups, or the occasional bit of slow-motion, instill in us the feeling that we, like Jay, are experiencing life like a dream that's become a never-ending nightmare. Bravo, sir.

Finally, I must add that the score by Disasterpeace is positively euphoric. He primarily utilized synthesizers to create the film's spooky sounds (another loving nod to Halloween), this soundtrack manages to capture Jay's naivety and innocence before It shows up, the subsequent ensuing panic, and the mystery surrounding It's origins, cleverly left ambiguous to sell the movie's themes. There are multiple pieces I just will never get out of my head.

Quite simply, It Follows just works. Everything about it comes together like a beautiful melody, not a hair out of place. As someone who is mostly unfazed by films about the paranormal, this is one of a very select group that actually spooked me. Every time I view it, I am left with a uniquely unshakeable sense of unease different from any other haunting-related picture I've seen. 'It Follows'? More like 'It Will Stay with Me For a Mighty Long Time."

You can buy or rent It Follows here, which I highly recommend:

About Me

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me to add your own content and make changes to the font.

Posts Archive


bottom of page