Movie Review: It Follows
by Gino Fanelli | published Apr. 15th, 2015
Harken back to a time when horror movies didn't need to be formulated around a plot driven by a mysterious found videotape, when the monster didn't need a rational, thorough explanation and the characters were as helpless as they were desperate. Throughout the '70s and '80s, films like "Halloween," "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Hellraiser" reveled in ambiguity, presenting monsters that, even with a backstory, were captivating by their sheer mysterious nature.
"It Follows" marks both a departure from the contemporary form of modern horror movies with stark originality, while simultaneously returning to the traditions of a bygone era of horror.
The story follows Jay (Maika Monroe) who, after having sex with her new boyfriend, is cursed by a supernatural sexually transmitted disease (STD) of sorts, which presents itself as a person that constantly follows her. It can appear as someone she's never seen before, her own father or, at its most startling, a 7-foot-tall eyeless man. It can't run, but rather constantly walks at a leisurely pace toward its target. It will never stop and can only be delayed by passing on the curse to someone else by having sex with them. From there, it essentially works its way down the line, killing the most recent recipients in chronological order.
"It Follows" revels in its sheer ambiguity and dedication to an astoundingly simple plot line. The story is never muddled by a convoluted, archaeological explanation of the true origins of It, leaving what It truly is up to complete interpretation. Is It an allegory for STDs or HIV/AIDS, or is it playing on the cliche horror movie trope of sex scenes inevitably leading to death scenes? The monster's very nature being a complete and total mystery makes it endlessly creepy. While still utilizing some jump scares, "It Follows" truly shines at a conceptual level, presenting both a story and monster that linger with the the viewer after a watch.
However, while "It Follows" is certainly a creepy film featuring a unique story and superb acting, there are quite a few logical inconsistencies found throughout the story. First, if Jay's boyfriend Hugh/Jeff (Jake Weary) was cursed by It several months before the events of the film, as he states himself, he would certainly be dead. Not necessarily by It, but rather by sheer exhaustion. Unless Jeff had been constantly moving across the world, there is no possibility that he could have ever slept. This flaw is multiplied by the fact that he still lives with his mother in Detroit, the very place where he was cursed.
Now, this would make sense if It stopped while its victim was asleep. This, however, is not the case, as with the paranormal-incestual death of Greg (Daniel Zovatto) proves. It is always coming, no matter what. Furthermore, It can be attacked, and killing It will slow It for some time, though It will always return. Which begs the question, where is It's starting point once It reforms? As Jeff explains, traveling a long distance will slow It, as It will have to traverse that distance. But where does It start? If It can die and reform, there is absolutely no reason why It needs to continue the same leisurely pace, but rather It could just destroy Itself and reform directly next to It's victim. These may be nit-picky observations, but they are still ones that take away a bit from immersion into the story.
Despite these flaws, "It Follows" is an all-around fantastic film with a creepy premise and a wonderfully insidious score by Disasterpiece. Though the jury is still out, one can assume that It will be marked as a new chapter in the horror movie monster book.