It Follows Movie Review
STDs suck. I’ve never had one, but I’ve heard they can sort of follow you around and come back to haunt you when you’re least suspecting it. And then there’s the ultimate STD: a pretty girl meets a handsome guy, puts out, and possibly even with protection he still passes along a demonic creature that will follow her endlessly--or, well, until it catches up to her and rips her apart.
It Follows is an ingeniously simple yet shockingly original horror movie that has only one issue: it may boil a little too slowly for mainstream audiences expecting a scare every ten seconds. That was my reaction the first time I watched the movie nearly a year ago--great concept, good execution, but not especially exciting--but now that it’s finally available in the U.S., I figured I better give it a second viewing.
Upon said second viewing, It Follows does not boil too slowly… but it certainly is not as fast-paced and scare-filled as popular movies such as The Conjuring, which relies heavily on those look-down-at-your-feet-and-cover-your-ears anticipation because you know something bad is going to happen at any second.
It Follows doesn’t follow that formula. Writer/director David Robert Mitchell’s formula is simple: tell a good story, rely on the premise to make you piss your pants, and don’t worry about being scary in the way general audiences usually like.
His approach works for the most part. Mitchell has acquired a solid cast, led by the terrific Maika Monroe--who was also the stellar protagonist in 2014’s The Guest(another “horror” movie that said fuck it to convention). Because of how It Follows unfolds--most of the horror derives from Monroe reacting to a demon, who can look like anyone at any time, slowly walking toward her--a fair amount of the responsibility falls on her shoulders. Her performance combined with great writing and the simply wonderful premise makes It Follows one of the must-see horror movies of the year.
Still, I can’t completely discount my initial reaction to watching the movie a year ago: having already heard a fair amount of buzz, i.e. like people calling it “one of the must-see horror movies of the year,” I expected a bit more. The premise is great, but the suspense is low-key and Mitchell never really ratchets up the visceral excitement factor to the degree he probably should have for the film to have truly broad appeal.
It Follows could have benefited from a little more vigor, but it’s a horror movie that, due to its premise, will stay with you, even follow you, for quite some time.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.