"It could look like someone you know or it could be a stranger in the crowd. Whatever helps it get close to you..."
Something is really wrong with Jay (Maika Monroe). After a sexual encounter with a young man she finds herself, after being knocked out with chloroform, tied up in a wheelchair in an abandoned warehouse with her would be suitor trying to explain something bizarre to her. It seems he has transmitted something to Jay, something evil, and it won’t stop following her until it kills her. She needs to make the choice to either pass the evil on or succumb to the supernatural fate that stalks her.
“It Follows” is a very interesting film in that it is very much style over substance. That’s not to say this is necessarily a bad thing, especially in this case as the style is absolutely brilliant. As the film progresses through it’s narrative we’re time and time again presented with brilliant nuisances and stylistic choices that harken back to the classic horror films of the late 70s and early 80s (in particular John Carpenter and Sam Raimi, with a little Roman Polanski thrown in for good measure). The star of the film is its visuals and director David Robert Mitchell and cinematographer Mike Gioulakis have crafted what is surely going to be the film to beat in terms of visuals this year. The compositions of the shots are unlike anything the horror genre has seen in years. Doing away with the shaky, handheld (or god forbid found footage) look the genre has become accustomed to, the film instead takes care and using every inch of the frame and invented camera movement help create the mood of terror that helps propel the narrative forward
Similarly the other key element used, not only to create mood but also to drive the narrative, is the music. By utilizing the electronic/chip tune artist Diasterpeace (most commonly known for producing the soundtrack to the awesome game FEZ), Mitchell not only gets a brilliant, moody score for his film but he also effectively establishes an instant reaction from the audience, especially those familiar with the horror genre, by evoking the works of John Carpenter which works perfectly as a counterpart for the visuals in the construction of the film.
Despite all these brilliant technically aspects there is one slight flaw in “It Follows” and that comes in the form of the story itself. While it’s a clever idea, and an original one at that (refreshing in this day and age), it never quite works its way to it’s full potential. In saying that this isn’t because anything was omitted from the story to help it along, but rather the opposite. At a running time of 100 minutes the film begins to drag and by tightening up this running time and removing a few scenes (one giant set piece involving a swimming pool in particular) the film would’ve been a leaner, more polished version of itself that not only woks better as a narrative but flows easier for the audience.
With fine performances and an interesting story at its core, it’s the technical nature of the film that truly makes it a unique (albeit slightly derivative) cinematic experience. Not without its flaws, “It Follows” still emerges as a very entertaining horror film that stands heads and shoulders above the rest in a genre that is rife with repetitiveness.
6.5 out of 10.
Reviewed by Chris Swan.