It Follows

Review: Matt Mungle

One key to making a solid horror film is offering something innovative even if that means borrowing from the past. In IT FOLLOWS we get a unique premise, frightening entities, and a nostalgic canvas. It proves that you don’t need a full on adrenaline fueled mad man or far too common poltergeists to drum up some scares. The ease of the script and the realism of the characters make this creepier because it seems true. Writer/Director David Robert Mitchell gives us what instantly feels like a classic ghost story. It is reminiscent of the 70s and 80s which for older viewers will make it even more fun to watch. Mix that with a slightly provocative nature of the script and it is win win all around.

Jay Height (Maika Monroe) is an average teenaged girl. She spends time hanging out with her sister and friends watching TV and living life in the slow paced pre-internet world. When a sexual encounter puts a hell hound on her trail she discovers that the only way to get rid of it is to have sex with someone else.If it kills her first then it goes back to haunt the person before her. The premise may sound like the best advocate for abstinence ever and yes in hind sight that would have been the better choice. Jay's sister and friends do their best to help her find alternatives to getting rid of this menacing specter. But can her choice ever truly be undone.

The premise may cause you to go one of two ways. You either expect this to be a preachy film about the horrors of promiscuous sex. Or a raging sex romp in which evil spirits are the best reason to sleep with as many people as possible. Both are incorrect. It in no way blames the actions for the outcome nor is there much gratuitous bed hopping. Instead it just uses this clever idea to introduce the murderous haunt. The evil entity can take on the persona of just about anyone. A stranger, a loved one, a past acquaintance. Plus it is relentless and nothing seems to make it stop. This is another chilling addition to the story.

Maika is a good choice for the role. She has that soft girl next door demeanor and doesn't come across as someone deserving of such a horrible dilemma. Many will recognize her from last year's THE GUEST. Here she is the lead character but allows her supporting cast to rally around her and make a solid ensemble.

The best part of the film is the cinematography and decision to make it appear to take place several decades ago. The absence of technology and instant information grounds the story and the characters. For this generation they may seem odd but for older audiences it is a nice reminder of a different time. The music and camera angles too are throwback to some of the early classic horror films. Imagine standing in a quiet field as the autumn wind causes you to shiver. You pull your jacket a bit tighter and glance over your shoulder. Nothing is there but that doesn't keep your skin from crawling. That is how this movie made me feel.

IT FOLLOWS is rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content including graphic nudity, and language. Yes it is an adult film but the content is not overtly sensual and the nudity is not rampant. Die hard horror fans may not find it scary but those who watch these type of movies rarely should frighten nicely. I give it 3.5 out of 5 chastity belts. I mainly loved how the style and artistry made me feel. The unique premise and decent story line only added to the enjoyment. .



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100 min | Horror