Release Date: 27 February 2015
Running time: 100 min
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi
It is a depressing, notion to think that a modern horror that doesn’t rely on a sickening avalanche of torture porn, a half-assed attempt at the found footage motif, or a creepy looking kid, should be considered a novelty. And yet this is very much the state of play in the genre today. Thank goodness then for It Follows. An original, engaging and creepy piece that respects its audience enough to know that it takes more than making a sudden loud noise to produce an effective scare.
Following the plight of Jay, a distinctly average American teenager living a quiet existence in Anytown, USA. After being wooed by a mysterious rebel, she finds herself on the wrong end of a sexually transmitted curse with deadly implications. Now wherever she goes, whatever she’s doing, somewhere there is an evil presence, invisible to everyone but the cursed, walking straight for her. If it ever catches her, well it won’t be pleasant. Her only options are to try to outrun it forever, or pass it on.
Director David Robert Mitchell knows exactly how to frame it for the most effective scares. It is a film that lives in the wide shot, allowing the camera to linger for an eternity as a mysterious apparition slowly approaches our heroine. Part of the fun comes from figuring out whether or not this ambling figure is indeed the harbinger of her doom or just a harmless so-and-so out for a stroll. Rarely has ambiguity been used to create such terror and tension so effectively; it oozes with suspense. Rich Vreeland’s score, a cacophony of synthesised menace, is somewhere between a techno remix of Bernard Herrmann’s theme from Psycho and a nightmare version of Cliff Martinez’s Drive soundtrack. It sets an unshakable tone that is as relentless as the followers onscreen.
It Follows would be the total horror package if it weren’t for the overplayed and underwhelming finale, a half-hearted attempt to bring some action into a vehicle that doesn’t require it. That aside Mitchell delivers a twisted parable on the dangers of the promiscuous teenage lifestyle. It will spook the bejesus out of you, and looks damn good while doing it. The thought of creating something fresh and original in the horror genre may scare the big production companies, but It Follows stands as a perfect example of why some fears are worth conquering.