I must start this review by simply stating that “It Follows” is absolutely an awesome film. I consider myself a horror film fan above all other genres of film and believe in many ways it’s the hardest genre to execute. The music, the editing and the cinematography of this film are so exemplary that really any film fan can appreciate the craftsmanship at work and even when not being scary the film succeeds as great art.
The conceit of the film is that a young adult female (Maika Monroe) has sex with a man who then tells her that she will be followed by a shape shifting entity that will kill her if it catches up with her. If she has sex with someone else the entity follows them, but if that person dies; it goes back to her, also the entity can only walk and is practically unstoppable. This is not only an awesome setup for a horror film, but also has thematic relevance with the film, gender politics and sexual encounters among young people. The film doesn’t shortcut it’s character and the character dynamics are what’s important to the horror of this film because you realize the toll and importance that sex has (especially now) on the lives of the characters in the film.
I’m never particularly scared while watching horror films, my personal fascination instead, lies in their execution. The score of this film by Rich Vreeland, is some kind of awesome industrial/synth take on 80’s horror films of Halloween and Friday the 13th fame. The score has ebbs and flows and really does play on audience expectation, while also seemingly haunting the characters within the film itself. Even more impressive to me than the score is the cinematography. This film is about as beautiful as horror films get; with the use of wide-angle lenses, barren Detroit landscapes, color differentiation and shot composition. It’s really incredible what director David Robert Mitchell pulled off, on a skimpy budget and should be a notice to other horror film creators that mediocrity in this genre is unacceptable.
“It Follows” is not only a technical accomplishment, but the social commentary and subversive humor are so much fun, that I expect anyone who decides to give it a chance can find substance here. I suppose the most talked about being that of the female perspective, in that of living in a predatory environment and how women are expected to fear sex and slut shaming. It’s certainly a weighty exercise if that’s what you’re into, but in the end this is just an astoundingly fun horror film and one of the best of the 21st century.
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