A lot of horror films nowadays go for the cheap jump scare tactics, some more than others, in which the scares in question are very tame and barely elicit any long lasting terror (Ouija, The Lazarus Effect) Expositional dialogue and a lack of atmosphere also plague a lot of features in this genre, it's rare to see one that defies all these cliches and brings something entirely different to the table.
It Follows is that rare horror film that never sinks into the cookie cutter mould. The story is something I've never seen before. For 19 year old Jay, her first time turns into a terrifying encounter when she finds out her crush has passed on, in essence, a sexually transmitted demon. She begins to see dead people who will follow her until she dies. This masterclass is tension and subtlety proves that what you don't see really is scarier than what you can see. Poor Jay, no one sees the things she can see, and it makes for fascinating interactions between her and her friends.
The only way to get rid of these deadly visions is to have sex with someone else, and they'll end up being followed, but is it really that easy? There are so many biting questions and ideas running through this incredible film. Why do some people not get affected by this STD? How do these demons kill you? How long can someone live with this until they can't run anymore? The story is just superb, and I love how the narrative doesn't enter familiar horror territory. There's no straight clear direction of where the story will go, it all depends on how Jay feels and her choices, one minute she's in her room locked away, next minute she's at a beach, getting into swimwear to go into the water, and then next she's back at home. It's all very random but there's a natural feeling to the order of events here.
Maika Monroe is phenomenal. Fragile, unsure of herself yet determined to defeat her demons, Monroe conveys all this in one seamless performance that relies on a lot of emoting and physicality, as there is very little dialogue in this film, for most characters, and I liked the silence as it adds to the uneasy atmosphere. The way the film keeps you in constant worry means you're left there to watch the frame for impending danger, any threat could appear from anywhere and it's so effective.
There are a few well timed and effective jump scare moments, one moment sees Jay and her friends attacked on a beach when an unseen presence comes their way. The dead themselves look terrifying, baggy eyes, torn limbs and with malice in their face, this is a film to watch if you want to feel uncomfortable and scared.
With an impeccable score, stunning lighting to enhance the weird mood and especially wonderful cinematography, this comes as one of my highest recommendations for a film from 2015. Get your hands on this film, it may not be for everyone, mostly those looking for the type of mainstream horror flicks, but if you're looking for an intelligent, well acted and incredibly crafted horror then do yourself and favour and watch It Follows.