When myself and my fiancee went out for my birthday and decided to go and see a movie, we instantly locked in on It Follows, the newest movie from David Robert Mitchell, whom I had no idea about at the time, and now I find that I really have to watch him in the future. As we went in, I didn't know what to expect as the previews for the film were few and far between and I really hadn't read up on it too much, and so I just figured that it was going to be another hyped-up horror film that didn't actually pay off in any way. (See the Insidious franchise.) But what I got in the long run was something that I was more than glad to pay for and more than glad to recommend for fans of horror or obscure cinema.
First of all, I just want to say that if you are going to see this film with the idea that you are going to be jumpscared out of your seat and that you will be rolling in the aisles in fear, then this is not the movie for you. This movie is a slow, plodding film, that makes you paranoid of everyone around you for hours, or even days after the film's ending. I have to start with this because there are a lot of people out there that will see a trailer for this and then think that it's another film like that and it's really not.
The film begins with a rather ominous scene of a girl being chased out of her house and into the streets by something that it seems only she can see, and when you see her run, you will understand what I say when I say that I can only applaud the actress for having to run in those shoes and not breaking her ankles. What follows is one of the more gruesome scenes in the film, one of very few, I might add. What follows that is almost a coming-of-age movie about a young girl and her very first sexual encounter, which is done rather tastefully and will bring about thoughts and memories of most people's first time, except it's in a car in the middle of an abandoned lot, but whatever. The turn comes when the young man, chloroforms her and ties her to a chair and then reveals that now he has passed this thing onto her and that It will follow her wherever she goes. Call that an allegory for sex, STDs, or just poor decisions, according to the director himself, it was all based on dreams that he had when he was younger of something following him and him being powerless to stop it, and truly that is what the film is, the removal of power over a being that is so unrelenting and yet approaches at such a slow pace.
The directing and the cinematography really shine in this film and give it such an oppressive feel to everything going on around you, and with the directors use of wide-angle lenses, you just feel surrounded by fear at every turn. The paranoia sets in as you see this thing just coming from the background, slowly, and you never know if it is going to get to her or not, and the fact that it can look like anyone, also is very unnerving and keeps you looking over your shoulder the whole time. The lead of Jay is played by the amazing Maika Monroe, whom I had never heard of before this film, but has been in films like Labor Day and The Guest, really pulls the piece together with her stellar acting. Throughout the film she truly seems to be losing it as the thing continues to change and pursue her, and she really gives off that feeling of unease. The rest of the cast is equally as good, with a bunch of people that I have never seen before and who some haven't even been in films before this one.
So, would I recommend this film to you? If you have read the above and it still seems to intrigue you, then yes. If you're a fan of films where things are jumping at the screen? No. But I would implore anyone out there who is a fan of horror films, or really tense thrillers, to see it and to judge for yourself, because I know that I enjoyed it and that I look forward to whatever Mitchell puts out next.