I've said it once, I'll say it again: I'm not huge on horror films. However, even I'll admit, It Follows is a truly brilliant, bone-rattingly chilling new contemporary classic horror that will shake you up and fill you with relentless terror.
The plot of the film is quite simple, really. It's essentially a story about a sexually transmitted curse. Once you make love with a carrier of said curse, it will start following you instead. The film begins with a girl fleeing her home and heading for the beach. It is after her or, should I say, it follows her. However, it's when we meet Maika Monroe's Jay, early on, that things really take a turn and it begins to form it's own entity.
After she has sex with her nice enough boyfriend Hugh (Jake Weary), he takes her to an abandoned building and, after tying her down to a chair, reveals that he carried the curse and it has been passed to Jay and it will, now, chase and stick with her. Only she can see can see it, though. What follows is it watching her, waiting for the perfect moment to strike and, in turn, kill. Trying her best to rid herself of it, she just simply cannot and the dreading sense of unreeling horror and pain is always looming over her head as it follows.
This film is bloody scary. I, genuinely, cannot remember being so scared that I can't sleep. However, whilst there are your classic, clichéd horror techniques and some great jump scares that will raise your blood pressure, the real trick behind the horror of It Follows is the ambiguity and uncertainty surrounding this and slipping under your skin to create an uneasy, terrifying sense of fear. You don't know what themysterious titular it is and why it does what it does and that's what really gets you going; this dread and intrigue of the unknown pumping through your veins. It's all psychological scares.
It's a very simple concept and premise but director David Robert Mitchell's approach is clever in keeping the audience on their toes - with, both, fear and suspense. From start to finish, the atmosphere is tense and dark and, whilst there's a purposeful sense of surreality to the proceedings, Mitchell keeps it believable and it feels grounded and real too. The problem with most horrors is that they can scare, sure. Most of them, though, follow such weak and underdeveloped plots whereas It Follows is smart and scary at the same time and has a solid, interesting story and doesn't lose itself.
The topic of teenagers and sex is one that plays its hand well to the genre. Horrors don't shy away from putting it out there, bold and explicit. Although, there seems to be a recurring feel of déjà vu with this concept nowadays. However, It Follows is fresh and audacious in its approach. Mitchell understands the mind of a teen and effectively shows what it's like to be young and afraid, using sex as the motive and lure. It's a conceit for a subtle metaphor of teenage life and sex and the truly incredible ensemble bring it to life beautifully. They're unfamiliar faces add a layer of reality to this. They all give marvellous performances. However, it is Monroe that steals the show here, somewhat of a revelation; beautifully chilling yet absolutely fascinating too as the vulnerable, innocent Jay.
Smart, stylish and scary, It Follows is a genre-defying new horror that shines with ingenuity, creating what is an unsettlingly brilliant new cult-classic that will rattle your bones and leave you screaming with fear.
About the Author
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.