It Follows has a rare honor as being one of the few horror films with a 96% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While it has moments with an original feel and some terrorized characters, It Follows seems to be more of an homage to early John Carpenter than anything. It can be an homage but It Follows did not scare me all that much. Sorry, but I have to be honest.
The film stars Maika Monroe as Jay. She is a young teenager still having to experience her body changing from a young girl to a young lady. After she has sex with her young boyfriend, she is told in a creepy way, that something will follow and try to kill her. Unless, she “passes the curse on” to some other unsuspecting person. Talk about a bad one night stand and no, it is not STD’s they are talking about here, either. No, this ‘thing’ that follows you could be anybody. Your mom, your friends or a stranger. It does not matter. It walks, does not run. It might be slow in catching up to you but it will catch up to you…sooner or later.
Maika Monroe is terrific as Jay. She is young and innocent and Maika does a good job of descending from a normal teenage girl to a young lady battling for her sanity. The problem I had with It Follows is that the film takes place almost entirely in daylight, so we see the killing force coming from a mile away. For me, that took a lot out of the story. Part of what makes films that rely on mood and tone is they are almost exclusively sparsly lit. Shadows and the imagination fill in the gaps. It Follows pretty much shows us everything, thus ruining any shocks or scares.
It Follows does have some moments of original terror and it works on a dramatic level to a certain extent. Writer and director David Robert Mitchell has an eye and an ear for how teenagers think, act and relate to one another. His script has promise but when it gets to the scary moments, I was unmoved, except for a few bits which worked. Mitchell shows promise as a writer and director and It Follows is not without merit, especially Disasterpeace’s very Carpenter and Alan Howarth-esque score. It is worth a listen.
The rest of the cast does what they can and they save a good part of this film. Shot almost entirely in Detroit, the dilapidated homes and run down parts of town do add a certain amount of menace to the story, but everything seems to be explained and shown to the viewer. It leaves very little to the imagination and it makes the scares more of a nervous laugh than a seat jumper. As well acted and nobly intended as Mitchell has tried to make It Follows, (and you can see his effort to make something fresh, inventive and entertaining) the film falls short in the scare department. There is a final fight sequence that takes place in a swimming pool and it comes across as just plain silly. It Follows might be perfect for some who want everything explained and shown, but for those who want mood and tone, the new classic is The Babadook, not It Follows.
It Follows – Rated R for violence, language and some scenes of gore
It Follows – Run Time is 100 minutes