Drop this enigmatic little thriller in any 70s or 80s creepfest and not only will its score feel right at home, but the budget and the story-line are likely to as well. The genius of It Follows is in David Robert Mitchell’s ability to take every (and I do mean every) horror cliche taught in the proverbial Scary Movies 101 class and amplify them with enough pure dread that completing this film is akin to taking a master’s class at the University of Psychological Thrillers.
Where the hell did this young pup (Mitchell) come from anyway? And, why have I never heard of him before? He obviously digested ample late-night horror shows as a kid because his knack for cloak-and-dagger paced suspense is remarkable. This is one talented writer/director, Folks. I suspect he is what you’d get if you magically mated John Carpenter and John Hughes. Carpenter for obvious reasons and Hughes for his innate ability to treat his young characters with dignity and a genuine respect for their very real world angst.
Prepare to push past the well-worn “Casual Sex leads to Death and Despair” surface and tread into the deeper, more cerebral, waters of the story. It Follows packs plenty of profound notions and shrewd foreshadowing that astute observers may catch the first time around. Childhood fears of water, the woods, abandoned buildings, being home alone, being followed, and the complete unknown morph into adult fears of growing old, being alone, disease, death … and, well, the complete unknown. “It” appears to be cryptic, but the undeniable dangers of reaching out for forbidden fruit resonates clearly throughout this shudder-producing film.
Caveat for fellow Horror fans: If you’re looking for scores of gore, slasherporn, and jump-out-of-your-seat scares, you best mosey on along. Blood, full frontal nudity, and Night of the Living Dead (1968) dread all receive adequate screen time, but the main focus is on the tension and anxiety you experience following Jay (deftly portrayed by Maika Monroe) and her small circle of loyal friends. I guarantee you’ll be watching the edges of your screen.
Above: Keir Gilchrist, Jake Weary, Maika Monroe, Olivia Luccardi and Daniel Zovatto at event of It Follows (2014)
Caveat for fellow Suspense fans: This film is a … slow … burn. And, yes, there are a few times you’ll be asked to suspend your disbelief; but overall, Mitchell’s methods work really well. And the climax is well worth the wait.
Bottom Line: What will follow after viewing It Follows is the palpable uneasiness that makes you want to crawl right out of your skin.
[Disclaimer: This is a copy of my original review posted on amazon.com]