Logline: After a sexual encounter, a young woman is followed by an unknown force.
Review: Horror is perhaps, the most recognizable and clearly defined genre in cinema. It is also the most likely genre in which filmmakers tend to follow certain cliches. However, with It Follows, David Robert Mitchell crafts a refreshing horror film devoid of these genre trappings. The film seems to belong in the 1980s with its bright colors, retro look, and loud synthesizer infused soundtrack. The film recalls many great horror films from that era; films like John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) and The Thing (1982) and Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). I was also reminded of Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People (1942).
The film takes a familiar concept; that is what one does not see is scarier than what one does see. Rather than relying on cheap thrills, Mitchell takes his time and builds suspense in each scene. The “monster” is wisely left mysterious.
On a visual level, the film is gorgeous and the kinetic camera work is stunning. It Follows is all about style and in someone else’s hands, a film like this could easily fall apart.
Sex makes people uncomfortable and sex mixed with violence is even more unsettling. It Follows juxtaposes the two and at times, the film is quite frightening. Of course, the scares are amplified by the excellent throwback soundtrack.
Ultimately, It Follows is a coming of age tale about sexual anxiety and two childhood friends who are brought closer together after a series of terrifying events. The acting by the young actors is top notch.
Great horror films are hard to come by especially nowadays and I was treated to two recently: Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook (2014) and It Follows. It Follows takes a simple concept and makes it fresh while still reminding us of all those great horror films of the past.
Rating (out of ****): ****