It Follows offers a fresh new spin on the horror genre with original scares and imagery.
It Follows is a supernatural horror with amazing imagery, cinematography and storytelling which brings a fresh new take on the horror genre. Not only does it offer a new original demonic entity, but the style and atmosphere and setting offers something very original and surreal. With an unnerving feel and an actually scary plot that feels very disturbing it creates something unique and authentic.
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Jay lives with her sister Kelly and her mother, and spends her days with her friends Yara and Paul. When Jay has a new lover Hugh, she decides to have sex with him, but their romantic encounter in his car soon ends in a terrifying experience. Because something is following him and tries to kill him and by having sex with Jay he passed that something on to her. It is following her now and the only way to get rid of It is to pass It on to someone else by heaving sex with them. But Jay doesn’t want anyone else else to get hurt and so she and her friends are desperately trying to find a solution, by tracing down the source.
Why you should watch it
It Follows looks absolutely stunning. The art decoration, the set design, but also the detailed alternate world that is created all give it a surreal and intriguing atmosphere. The stylish cinematography serves the characters and the plot to turn the entity that is following Jay into something very disturbing and scary. The way the shots are taken are very strong and enhance the vibe and particular feel of the scene and the character.
Jay is portrayed as a cool and likable girl and that laidback feel really comes across when she is lying in her pool in the garden. She has a strong bond with her friends, but her mother is mostly absent and when she’s in the room she sits in another area with her back to the camera, making her distant and absent even if she’s physically around. The best way Jay’s character is shown is by her choices. She doesn’t want to pass It on to anyone else, and certainly not to her best friend Paul who had since forever a crush on her, wanting to take the burden from her. But still she refuses.
The whole vibe and setting of the film is very alienating. It looks like it is autumn, with all the fallen leaves covering the ground and summer all at once, when they go for a swim in the lake. They go to the beach, she lies in her pool, they wear coats and short, it’s confusing but it does give a surreal vibe to the surroundings. But there’s more to give it a surreal vibe. The round shaped compact ereader, Jay’s room and clothing that is a mix the of 60’s and 50’s with a modern touch, all makes this film and time and place very impalpable and elusive. Like it exists but in an alternate reality, just an inch outside of our familiar world. This is also enhanced by the choice of music. It’s modern and nostalgic at the same time and either feels like it’s made in the eighties or has just a retro vibe.
But they way the friends interact with each other can be evenly elusive. When Yara talks she mostly reads aloud what she’s reading. When she’s not reading, she’s sleeping. Paul is very much a teenager but sincere and intense. Kelly is a woman of few words, but very supportive of her sister. Jay is anything but reckless and therefore this film is not about the consequences of having sex like a conventional slasher. She thought it over well and decided very aware to have sex for the first time. But even if you make smart choices, it can always lead to surprising unexpected outcomes. Which then she handles very well and maturely. This is not a film about punishing girls who have sex, but instead gives it a fresh new twist that subverts the slasher genre.
This new plot makes an excellent new kind of evil entity/villain/killer. It is something unknown. It looks like anything or anybody. Like normal people, like something scary. And the constant feel that someone is following her is always present. Just because it looks like nobody it could be anybody. The old woman, a young boy. Suddenly everybody is a suspect and the constant fear is a great element that is relentless and builds up the suspense of never being safe. And when we and Jay are aware that It is following her, the camera never lets its sight of Jay. It always keeps the focus on her, ever keeping the adults and It unfocused. It can therefore suddenly appear while It must have been there already, or walk through the shot, or coming closer while noticing it too late. It’s outstanding dread with a feeling of desperation. When It does take a focused and familiar form, it doesn’t get less scary, but instead gets even more scary. Because that shape, that person also has a meaningful fear that it arises in the victim. It’s personal. That’s horrifying and very gruesome in a very visceral way.
The ending might look a bit cheesy and illogical, but we mustn’t forget it’s about teenagers wanting to fight something intangible. So their solutions are very in line with the way a teenager’s mind works. And that’s an awesome concept and very in line with the whole vibe of the film. It makes its even more unique.
My favorite part
I loved the film. Everything about it was so different than other films. This film was truly unique and authentic. The whole vibe of the film, the setting, the calm and serene and yet disturbingly surreal atmosphere, the way the characters were fleshed out and the whole alternate setting made this film an experience that is very unusual and very entertaining. Everything clicked in this film. It brought something fresh and new to the genre and is neither a full on slasher nor a full on supernatural horror. With symbolism and the coming-of-age themes, it totally blew me away. And finally Jay was a superb final girl if you can even call her that. And of course this film really knows how to scare.
Scare factor: ★★★★★
Surreal factor: ★★★★★
Originality factor: ★★★★★
Entertainment factor: ★★★★★
Cast and crew
It Follows is directed and written by David Robert Mitchell. It stars Maika Monroe (Jay Height), Lili Sepe (Kelly Height) Keir Gilchrist (Paul), Olivia Luccardi (Yara), Daniel Zovatto (Greg) and Jake Weary (Hugh).
Duration: 100 minutes. Music: Disasterpeace. Cinematography: Mike Gioulakis. Edited by: Julio C. Perez IV. Produced by: Rebecca Green, Laura D. Smith, David Robert Mitchell, David Kaplan, Erik Rommesmo. Production company: Northern Lights Films, Animal Kingdom, Two Flints. Distributed by: RADiUS-TWC.