It Follows (2014)
Written & Directed by David Robert Mitchell
“When I was a little girl my parents would not allow me to go south of 8th mile. And I did not even know what that meant until I got a little older. And I started realizing that. That was where the city started and the suburbs ended. And I used to think about how shitty and weird was that. I mean I had to ask permission to go to the state fair with my best friend and her parents only because it was a few blocks past the border.” ~ Yara
I love horror movies. All kinds of horror movies – good ones, bad ones, cheesy ones, classic ones, but I most especially love ones that go beyond the surface of scare, and make me think. “It Follows” is one of those kinds of horror movies.
At first glance, I found my self thinking late 70’s/80’s John Carpenter. The movie opens on a neighborhood that is very “Halloween”. Long shots and very muted music, subtle and subdued, but effective. The story pulls you in immediately, but not in a jarring way. No, the tone is softer than that, almost lulling, but haunting, all at once.
At times I was reminded of Sofia Coppola’s “The Virgin Suicides” in the style and the pace of the film. Something, too, in the beauty of it. The story unfolds slowly, and in close up proximity. It almost feels, at times, like the viewer is eavesdropping on these teenagers private moments – some big, some small.
The movie does not rely on jump scares, gratuitous gore or nudity, or manipulative music to make the viewer feel. You feel because of the story, because of the acting, because of the emotions, and because there is something so off-kilter and unusual going on. This isn’t about a STD haunting, but instead, it feels like a kind of coming-of-age, and coming to grips with the reality of growing-up, and one’s own mortality – but wrapped up in a horror package.
This isn’t a cautionary tale on sex, or the old trope that only the virgin lives. Our final girl wasn’t a virgin at the start, and she has other final friends who make it to the end (though it is arguable that they have survived anything permanently). I read a comparison somewhere to “My So-Called Life” and it made me laugh a little, but also kind of agree. There is a realism to these characters, to teenage life, as well as a timelessness to it (if it wasn’t for the presence of cellphones, I’d almost think this was set in the late 80’s/early 90’s).
Don’t get me wrong, the movie terrified me. And it left me looking behind my own shoulder the next day…just because…
If you enjoy horror with some thinking involved (and nothing wrong with horror that is mindless either – love those, too), then I highly recommend this one. It is definitely making it to my favorite horror movie list.