It Follows (2014) Directed by Robert David Mitchell. With Maika Monroe, Lili Sepe, Jake Weary, Keir Gilchrist and Daniel Zovatto.
BBC film critic Danny Leigh admitted to “waking up in the middle of the night, sobbing” after a screening of writer-director, David Robert Mitchell’s It follows, a stylish horror film about a young woman (Maika Monroe) and her encounter with a mysterious supernatural force, brought into her life after a sexual encounter.
From the very first frame, the film seizes our attention with a striking introduction, setting the scene in a middle-class American neighbourhood, reminiscent of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare On Elm Street. Indeed, the era of ‘Elm Street‘ – the 1980’s – acts as a prominent influence on the film – the electronic score by Disasterpeace, adds a flavour of John Carpenter’s Halloween (admittedly 1978 – but hey) to the impending weirdness. Not only that, but the ’80’s represented the height of fear about sexually transmitted diseases, with AIDS becoming a much higher concern for the western world.
The shot compositions and camera moves by cinematographer, Mike Gioulakis, are pure genius, not only providing burned-on-the-retina, memorable imagery, but also contributing immensely to the overall tension as we, the audience, are invited to play the role of ‘spotter’ for any threats emerging on the horizon. The pacing is tweaked to wring every drip of suspense, playing all the right pauses and in doing so, allows the audience to use their imagination within the confines of the developing plot.
As your imagination starts to explore all the possibilities of the predicament the characters find themselves in, don’t be surprised to find yourself betraying your own moral stance. That’s another brilliant aspect of Mitchell’s tightly focused screenplay, and another dimension to the way in which the horror is applied. Not only will you feel a bit scared, you’ll feel guilty too.
A few words of praise for Maika Monroe – sure she’s young and beautiful, but she’s an actress first and while her performance is fraught with the threat of what may or may not be behind her, she exudes warmth and character beyond the average victim of a teen-slasher film.
The best horror films know exactly how to twist the knife, and while It Follows pays lip service to horror-film history, it does so while staying true to being a beautifully junky, mess-with-your-head nightmare. 5/5
Couldn’t agree with you more on this one. Such a great film. I like your point about how this film makes you feel guilty too. It’s true! Great review!
Thank you Mel, I goes against my moral stance – but I found myself willing her to sleep around. This one really floored me.
Me too! It really turned preconceived notions on their head
Good review Gareth. It’s smart, but never flashy. Which is why it works beyond so many other great horror flicks.
Thank you Dan, that’s a great point.
Very good review. One of my fav horrors that have come out recently.
Thank you, I’ll join you there. Excellent stuff!
I really enjoyed this review. You say a lot of interesting things about it follows. Your point about its nod to the 80’s, and its score, was especially intriguing.
Thank you very much, and welcome to my blog. It’s a pleasure to meet you.
Been meaning to check this out for what feels like ages now, will definitely have to give it a watch after reading this
I’m fairly certain you’ll have good things to say about it.
Such an inventive horror film. I love the way the camera lingers for too long on wide shots, eerily teasing us in the process. Great review Gareth.
Thank you, Adam. That a great point you make about the camera lingering. It heaped so much tension on top of tension. I wish I’d seen this one on the big screen.
Maybe I need a re-watch. (I did love the camerawork and soundtrack) 😀
I like a horror film that gives me a lot to chew over, after the event. I just hope the high quality isn’t diluted through endless sequels.
Great review Gareth. It Follows is very smart and interesting and is probably the best horror movie of the past decade. Very high praise for this one!
Thank you very much, I saw it a few days ago now and it still keeps hitting me. I agree with you, I think it’s going to go down as a landmark horror film.