In 1979 John Carpenter directed a low budget horror classic called Halloween, Carpenter in the years before steadicam and mobile cameras, created fear and menace by placing the camera as a POV mechanism for psychopath Mike Myers. It was a simply made film, full of long slow tracking shots that tapped into the audiences fear of a maniac on the loose. David Robert Mitchell’s
follow-up to The Myth of The American Sleepover echoes Carpenter, in taking a simple premise and exploiting it to the max. His technique is old fashioned in the best sense, preferring a slow pan and tracking shots to more contemporary styles.
There are other similarities with Carpenter’s work, primarily the use of music, Carpenter scored his own films but Mitchell employs the talents ofthe suitably named Disasterpeace to create the sense of menace that permeates the proceedings. The work is not to be under-estimated, its chilling electronic sound enhances the film greatly.
The narrative involves a curse that is passed on when these young people have sex. Insert subtext here. The curse comes in the form of walking zombies, naked and clothed who move slowly but with a murderous focus. The opening prologue efficiently demonstrates the implications of being caught, ther aftermath is terrifying. Though Mitchell is less interested in being explicit than in creating a sense of mounting suspense. He understands the impact of the sudden jolt, the slow build of a scene, placing hias characters in claustrophobic dark environments.
The use of locations is inspired, using Detroit crippled by the shutdown of the manufacturing car industry. Homes with TV’s from the sixties showing old horror sci-fi flicks from the fifties, empty suburban streets, the local playground with a squeky swing, the beach both calming and unnerving, abandoned desolate buildings and the local swimming pool that resembles an asylum from the outside.
Maika Monroe as Jay resembling a young Reese Witherspoon is a young actor to watch. Like Jamie Lee Curtis in the original Halloween she has that all American girl next door vibe. She carries the film to great effect and maintain audience interest throughout.
For fans of the horror genre, It Follows is not to be missed.