Yo yo yo ma homies. This is a review I wrote for the recent horror, It Follows. I have to say that this now competes as one of my all-time favourite horror films.
It’s always good to see a low-budget film make it big. You could say it’s a strike for the little guy against the monopoly of the major studios. There’s been a major buzz surrounding ‘It Follows’ ever since it became the ‘breakout’ film of last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Since then it has been generating some overwhelmingly positive reviews; somewhat unusually for a film of this genre. In fact it’s the only film I can remember to have garnered a near 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while The Telegraph newspaper called it the most exciting film of the festival, going on to say, “With its marvellously suggestive title and thought-provoking exploration of sex, this indie chiller is a contemporary horror fan’s dream come true.”
High praise, indeed. So what’s it all about?
Well, it starts as a simple boy meets girl story. Or girl meets boy. 19-year old Jay (played by newcomer Maika Monroe) is a seemingly ordinary girl who likes swimming, hanging out with friends and watching TV. Everything seems to be going reasonably well in her slightly awkward budding relationship with new boy, Hugh. Although, we soon see that he notices people that no one else can and he seems very eager to get away from them. Jay overlooks this fact and the inevitable horror film sex scene happens. More-or-less normal teen behaviour, you might think. Things then get strange as he drugs her and ties her to a chair in an abandoned warehouse. I can’t divulge why, or that would give away a crucial part of the plot. Better to see for yourself. Afterwards, Jay finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, or something, is following her. She too starts seeing people that nobody else can. Faced with being drawn into a waking nightmare, Jay and her friends must find a way to escape the horror that seems to be only a few steps behind. It quickly becomes apparent that in order for her life to return to normality, she has to address the curse, if that’s what it is, and ‘pass it on,’ a realization which throws up some interesting moral dilemmas.
It Follows carries on the recent trend of foregoing blood and splatter in favour of good old-fashioned chills, often calling to mind the classic, atmospheric ghost stories of old. There are also elements which echo David Lynch of Twin Peaks’ work. The film is especially effective in its early stages, the formulaic jumps and frights getting a little predictable towards the end. But the really interesting thing is the subtext, which goes far beyond the traditional SEX = BAD epithet. This is hinted at in the press release, which says, ‘It Follows is a contemporary horror exploring teen sex, suburbia and the stuff of nightmares – a cult classic in the making.’ A statement that after seeing this film I could actually agree with. Maika Monroe truly gives a chilling performance in ‘It Follows’ and makes an impressive ‘Scream Queen’. The lingering shots and entrancing electronic music gives the audience an authentically terrifying experience. I suggest this film to any true fan of horror.