“It Follows” has gotten a bunch of hype, so much so that what was initially a limited release has turned into a full on press this weekend.
Is it worth all the hype?
The magic eight ball that is me says yes.
In a time of inevitable sequels (“Insidious 3”) and remakes (“Poltergeist”), “It Follows” gives a fresh blast of originality to the teen slasher-style and demon haunting genres.
Usually in these films, the teens have sex and, as a punishment, they die, leaving the virginal girl to survive.
In the demon haunting genre, the demon haunts a specific location.
“It Follows” mixes those genres by letting the teens have sex, but then tying the demon haunting to that sex — like a sexually transmitted disease.
This is the situation protagonist Jay (Maika Monroe) finds herself after sleeping with her boyfriend. Now a demon stalks her — slowly (it can only walk). She can run, drive or whatever, but, as the title says, it follows.
Which gives some nice scares as the demon stalks Jay and her friends. Her friends can’t see the demon, but writer/ director David Robert Mitchell comes up with some inventive ways for the demon to materialize to them.
Another interesting angle is that Mitchell doesn’t spend screen time telling us the demon’s origin. It’s all about the scares and the escapes. I love this approach, as the “origin story” is all played out.
Spider-Man, Bond, Batman — looking at you.
Secondly, the revelation of origin often harms the horror. If you know where it came from, you can kill it — and the franchise. Because it gets really silly if in movie A the wise old character tells you what to do, you do it, but in movie B you learn it didn’t work.
Rob Zombie “Halloween,” I’m looking at you. And the umpteen sequels to “we killed the slasher but he’s alive again” movies: looking at you too.
No origin? Jay and her friends are grasping at ways to escape the demon. And even after they think they’ve succeeded, they’ll never really know if the demon is really gone. Audience unnerving and franchise potential secured.
On a technical level, I do have to call out the use of the spinning camera. It seems like a good idea at the time (very Scorsese in fact), but in this movie the damned thing didn’t follow focus so the shot was out of focus.
“It Follows” is fun, creepy, and even has echos of classic horror like John Carpenter’s “Halloween” and Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (not the crappy remakes).
Seriously. Try NOT seeing the “No running in the hallways” scene from “Nightmare” when Jay flees the school as the “it” of the title follows her.
I highly recommend seeing it, particularly all you haters hating on remakes and reboots. Here’s your chance to vote with your wallet (the only currency Hollywood understands) for original content.
Check out the trailer for “It Follows” below.