It Follows movie full length review - The Defining Horror of the Twenty First Century
In the past decade horror has become a breeding ground for cheap, lousy and poor filmmaking. It mostly comes down to sequels, prequels, remakes, rip-offs and reboots.
We have been treated to vile, repulsive and downright disgusting franchises that should have been buried in the dirt a long time ago. Tedious franchises like 'Paranormal Activity' and the 'Nightmare on Elm Street' sequels. They refuse to die. Because who cares about bad reviews when the box office receipts speak volumes.
Alas, I am beginning to speak off topic so let me attract your attention to the latest Horror masterpiece that is, 'It Follows'. The premise itself is surprisingly original and frightening of its own accord. The lead woman, Jay is a vulnerable nineteen year old and most importantly an independent character which is refreshing for a horror film. She is like any other girl that is nearing womanhood who just wants to chill out with her friends, be popular and go out on dates with guys.
Jay meets up with the new guy in town, Hugh. He strikes her as a confident and caring person. They go out on several dates, but when they go out to the cinema things start to go a bit odd. Hugh tells Jay that someone is watching them, but only Hugh appears to be able to see this person. They promptly leave the cinema and proceed to make love in a car. How romantic! Jay loses focus and realises until it is too late that Hugh is about to knock her out. She wakes up; strapped to a chair by her hands and feet. Hugh points something out that is far off moving slowly towards them. Hugh then tells Jay that he has transmitted a virus onto her. This virus makes a human like being stalk you everywhere you go, until it finds and kills you. The only way to avoid this horrid fate is to pass it onto another host through sex. After this information Jay is understandably traumatised. She confesses to her close friends, yet believes that if she tells her parents they will think that she needs medical treatment.
What makes the villain so effective and disturbing is its simplicity with which it dispatches its many victims. We never see the true form of the follower and this approach makes it even scarier. It takes human form and can replicate the look of your best friend. Unless you have one that is constantly drooling and walking slowly I would not panic. Well this is what I thought at first and felt that Jay was in no immediate danger; as the follower stalks its victims with the same immediacy as the zombies in 'Shaun of the Dead', very slowly then. However, it never stops, never shows any mercy and never appears to have any real meaningful motive to speak of. You would believe that the villain at first glance is underdeveloped and weak, that may be the case, but for Horrors it is a godsend. We never properly see it, so what terrifies us the most is left to our imagination and instinct of fear. The fact that it never has a reason for what it does means that you cannot change its mind. It just wishes to kill you. There are several set pieces each one topping the last in terms of creativity and how they all differentiate themselves from the other. The locations may seem bland, but the everyday can make us shiver none the less, because they are places that we can identify with. We feel complacent and relaxed, what 'It Follows' makes us do, is become paralysed by fear when revisiting well known locations like, our home, school, the beach, the cinema and the local swimming pool.
I used to think that horrors where limited in terms of the time of day. But this one proves that daylight can in fact be more fear inducing than utter darkness. You can see everyone and everything, but the follower could be the person standing next to you or off in the far distance. Jay begins to realise that she will never be able to keep her guard down for too long if she wishes to survive. The time flies by and when the lights came on, I was as shocked as anyone in the cinema, that this masterwork of fear, art and terror was over. I wish it would never end!
Many other factors of 'It Follows' continue to stalk my mind and dreams. The music sounds like it was taken from the seventies and ties in with themes of danger and loss of innocence. The cinematography is low key yet still manages to look as glorious as a paint stroke from Mr Turner. Every shot is calculated and excellent. Expect the Director David Robert Mitchell to become as widely congratulated as Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock the acclaimed masters of suspense and horror. I honestly cannot praise this film highly enough! Even the female lead that is fairly unknown, the wickedly talented Maika Monroe shows a surprising amount of skill in front of the camera. This is sure to be the film that catapults her towards stardom and fame. Monroe is ever so convincing as the petrified Jay who finds it harder to lead a normal life. Made all the worse by the follower and the fact that only its victims can see it. She outdoes herself and as an actress is sure to lead a long astonishing set of performances in her wake.
'It Follows' is not only the greatest horror to grace our screens in 2014. It is also the best since the original 'Alien'; suspenseful, wicked, cruel, nail biting and harsh. The film always connects us through an immense leading role from Maika Monroe. Expect David Robert Mitchell to become the next horror perfectionist.