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Review: It Follows

It Follows
03.13.2015
8 10

PLOT: A sinister presence enters a teenager’s life after she has sex with a man infected by a supernatural disease.

REVIEW: I really dig it when horror movies set up their own mythology and say, “Either accept this or don’t.” It can be an idea so abstract or ridiculous it cannot bear intense scrutiny, but if the filmmaker in question has effectively made it his own, follows his own rules and gets us to buy it and fear it, no one will complain. An example that comes to mind is THE RING, a movie with very specific (and very random) rules that fully commits to its outlandish premise, which in turn allows us to invest in the weird parameters of the plot. Naturally, it doesn’t hurt if the job is executed atmospherically and chillingly. IT FOLLOWS is a number like that, a movie with a patently bizarre central hook that nonetheless is so well done I never once felt compelled to dismiss any of what it dished out. It’s a solid and scary thriller, a creeper that should cause plenty of sleepless nights for a new generation of horror fans. (Second thoughts about casual sex might also be provoked; hey, a horror movie your parents would approve of!)

The main idea involves haunting-by-sex. That is to say, instead of a curse or “grudge” passed on to you by a sinister house or object, you’ll be visited by demonic visions after having sex with the wrong person. Teenaged Jay (Maika Monroe) finds this out the hard way (pun not intended) after she sleeps with the hot guy she’s liked for a while. During the afterglow of their intercourse (in an abandoned lot; romantic), the guy drugs her and ties her up. He doesn’t mean to hurt her - at least, not in a traditional way. He informs the sobbing girl he’s just infected her with a disease they don’t make antibiotics for: she’s now to be shadowed by a ceaselessly walking phantom, one that can look like anybody it wants to. It just walks and walks, coming ever closer, and if it finally gets to you, well, you don’t want to find out what happens.

But there are one or two bright sides! This thing, whatever it is, can easily be outpaced. It doesn’t magically reappear in front of you like a standard apparition; it’s always casually strolling. (And not unlike a zombie, there’s something especially scary when it moves so slowly.) Secondly, you can theoretically get rid of it by having sex with someone else; find someone you don’t really mind cursing, hit the sack, and next thing you know they’ll be the one tormented by this nightmarish spirit. At least, that’s how it supposedly works.

IT FOLLOWS establishes these simple but far-out rules in a very matter-of-fact way, without resorting to tiresome exposition. Once we know what’s up, the movie just rolls with it; director David Robert Mitchell doesn’t need to over-explain his concept. (This won’t work for everyone, but I often enjoy ambiguity in movies.) The surreal atmosphere Mitchell creates allows us to witness these events as if in a fever dream. Imagine the terror of looking into a crowd and seeing just one person coming for you - a person no one else can see, mind you - and no matter how far you run, you know it’ll catch up eventually. When it does, it may look like someone else, someone you even know, but there’s no mistaking its evil intentions.

Like any solid horror movie, IT FOLLOWS taps into unshakable fears, and as our protagonists are in that awkward transitional stage - going from children to adults - the dread takes several forms: Fear of STDs, of death, of not knowing who your friends are, of not feeling safe in your own home, of the boogeyman in the dark. Queasy childhood anxieties melded with grown-up paranoia, the worst of both worlds.

Grounding these horror twists and turns is a story about average teenagers in small town America. (It looks like the 80s but I don’t believe an era is ever fully established, lending the film a timeless feeling). Mitchell crafts believably casual friendships and love interests among a small group of friends; Jay is close with her younger sister Kelly (Lili Sepe) and her sister’s nerdy best friend Yara (Olivia Luccardi). A natural girl-next-door type, Jay also has a few guys interested, like her longtime best friend Paul (Keir Gilchrist) who of course is madly in love with her. There’s also the local bad boy Greg (Daniel Zovatto) who turns out to be surprisingly compassionate to Jay’s unusual plight. All of the young actors are quite good, believable. They could be in a dramedy about growing up in suburbia if it weren’t for the lurking ghosts. Monroe is especially good, inherently likable and genuinely sympathetic, and when those big eyes go wide with fright you better believe you’re feeling just as freaked out as she is. Might be too early to to call her a “Scream Queen,” but considering her magnetic performances in both IT FOLLOWS and THE GUEST it would appear she’s well on her way to becoming a very reliable horror heroine.

One other notable touch sharpens IT FOLLOWS’ unnerving edge. The score by Disasterpeace is superb, and yet another addition to the growing number of synth soundtracks that have been cropping up recently (THE GUEST, COLD IN JULY, MANIAC). Not quite sure when this trend started catching on again, but I’m all for it.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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7:23AM on 05/04/2016

Horrible

Oh my little 8lb 3oz baby jesus, that was one of the worst movies ive ever seen. Not just being a dick, its was slow with very little dialogue. If a sex demon is chasing why are you just sitting around staring at things.
Oh my little 8lb 3oz baby jesus, that was one of the worst movies ive ever seen. Not just being a dick, its was slow with very little dialogue. If a sex demon is chasing why are you just sitting around staring at things.
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+0
5:00PM on 03/14/2015

Nice

Caught the trailer for this a few weeks back and have been waiting for it to come out since. I unfortunately don't go to the theater. all that much anymore but i believe i'll be hitting it up for this flick.
Caught the trailer for this a few weeks back and have been waiting for it to come out since. I unfortunately don't go to the theater. all that much anymore but i believe i'll be hitting it up for this flick.
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5:58PM on 03/13/2015

hhhhhhhhhmmmmmmm

the music score is called new retro wave music, mostly that's what indie pop is now sounds like. the sounds does fit the scenes, it expresses the beats that gets you the feeling and emotion. also i'm interested with this movie.
the music score is called new retro wave music, mostly that's what indie pop is now sounds like. the sounds does fit the scenes, it expresses the beats that gets you the feeling and emotion. also i'm interested with this movie.
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5:21PM on 03/13/2015

Yesssss!

I have been wanting to see this for a long time. I got a freight when I heard (on here) it might be bad and my hopes were almost crushed. But seeing this review brings my hope back along with my excitement. ...Can't wait to actually see it!!
I have been wanting to see this for a long time. I got a freight when I heard (on here) it might be bad and my hopes were almost crushed. But seeing this review brings my hope back along with my excitement. ...Can't wait to actually see it!!
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1:19PM on 03/13/2015
Can't wait to see this. I heard all about it at AFI Fest but missed it there. On a side note these ads on the mobile site are KILLING ME. Anyone else having issues where you close out the first FULL PAGE AD and then the second full page ad doesn't even let you close it out?? Sorry to bitch but I check this sight like every half hr so needless to say it's pissing me off.
Can't wait to see this. I heard all about it at AFI Fest but missed it there. On a side note these ads on the mobile site are KILLING ME. Anyone else having issues where you close out the first FULL PAGE AD and then the second full page ad doesn't even let you close it out?? Sorry to bitch but I check this sight like every half hr so needless to say it's pissing me off.
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1:20PM on 03/13/2015
*site
*site
3:35PM on 03/13/2015
Yes the ads are horrendous. Making the site almost unusable on mobile. Makes me never want to buy anything from the companies that are advertising.
Yes the ads are horrendous. Making the site almost unusable on mobile. Makes me never want to buy anything from the companies that are advertising.
12:16PM on 03/13/2015

Not my thing

but I might check it out, based on the review. Does anyone else think Maika Monroe looks like a young Katee Sackhoff?
but I might check it out, based on the review. Does anyone else think Maika Monroe looks like a young Katee Sackhoff?
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12:14PM on 03/13/2015

No Bay Area Realease!!

Did somebody in Silicon Valley piss off the distributors of this because we seem to be the only major market who's not getting it? I'm dying to see this.
Did somebody in Silicon Valley piss off the distributors of this because we seem to be the only major market who's not getting it? I'm dying to see this.
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3:20PM on 03/13/2015
It happens a lot in the Bay Area. Limited releases can get the shaft in the south bay.
It happens a lot in the Bay Area. Limited releases can get the shaft in the south bay.
8:09PM on 03/13/2015
san jose is a pretty messed up town for indie releases, most of the time you have to go to San Francisco to see what San Jose dismisses as rubbish.
san jose is a pretty messed up town for indie releases, most of the time you have to go to San Francisco to see what San Jose dismisses as rubbish.
12:04PM on 03/13/2015
I've heard nothing but good things for this movie. Looking forward to watching this movie.
I've heard nothing but good things for this movie. Looking forward to watching this movie.
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11:36AM on 03/13/2015

Ummm......

This is a blatant ripoff of Thinner by Steven King. It's literally the exact same plot, except instead of passing the curse by food, you pass it by sex.

The girl is kind of cute, it could be worth a Netflix watch.
This is a blatant ripoff of Thinner by Steven King. It's literally the exact same plot, except instead of passing the curse by food, you pass it by sex.

The girl is kind of cute, it could be worth a Netflix watch.
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12:12PM on 03/13/2015
Ummm, check your facts. THINNER is about an obese lawyer who is cursed to waste away after he kills a gypsy in a car accident. The twist you're talking about is towards the end of the film, not the main plot point.
Ummm, check your facts. THINNER is about an obese lawyer who is cursed to waste away after he kills a gypsy in a car accident. The twist you're talking about is towards the end of the film, not the main plot point.
1:46PM on 04/18/2015
Try spell the author's name correctly when you make seriously ill advised criticisms. This is nothing like Thinner.
Try spell the author's name correctly when you make seriously ill advised criticisms. This is nothing like Thinner.
11:25AM on 03/13/2015

Great great movie...

saw it a month ago in theaters and it was one of the best horror movies I saw in recent time.
Very impressive, made wih a low budget which is compensated by a clever directing and effective effects !
The atmosphere reminds Donnie Darko
8/10
saw it a month ago in theaters and it was one of the best horror movies I saw in recent time.
Very impressive, made wih a low budget which is compensated by a clever directing and effective effects !
The atmosphere reminds Donnie Darko
8/10
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