"Even thought it is following you I can still see it. It is not done with me either. Okay, like I told you, all you can do is pass it on to someone else."
It Follows was one of the most interesting and innovative horror movies of the last few years, but is it possible that most of us — kinda missed the point?
I read a super interesting theory about It Follows by Brendan Morrow over at Bloody Disgusting that posits that the movie is not about STDs (as is commonly thought), but is actually about surviving sexual abuse:
David Robert Mitchell’s film has virtually nothing to say about life with an STD. Rather, it’s one giant metaphor for the horrifying aftermath of sexual assault and a denunciation of victim-blaming.
Our heroine, Jay, has her innocence shattered when her date, Hugh 'was only using her to pass on the curse,' using chloroform to overpower her in the way that so many other criminals use date-rape drugs to take advantage of people.
The ensuing visuals of Jay being dropped home half-naked, getting questioned by police, staying at the hospital, and laying in bed depressed for days, hammer the point home. Upon arriving back at the house, Jay spends a lot of time staring at herself in the mirror, examining the body that has been violated by an intruder.
Morrow's point is especially powerful when viewing the movie as a study on psychological isolation and victim-blaming, with other characters 'subconsciously looking down at [Jay] for getting in this situation when she did absolutely nothing wrong':
Jay’s life might be easier if her friends could see the demon, but they are blind to its presence. They can try to understand what Jay is going through, and they can do their best to be as supportive as possible, but they have no concept of how terrifying her world has become.
When the creature is in the area or is approaching Jay directly, most of her peers look at her like she’s out of her mind, blaming her for her fear instead of blaming the thing instilling that fear in her. 'Is something wrong with me,' Jay asks with tears rolling down her face. Nobody tells her no.
It's a pretty neat theory in keeping with the ethos of It Follows, and adding another edge of creepy realism to events. Many of the most striking horror movies are entirely open to interpretation. The titular Babadook, for example, is totally ambiguous in its physicality — and it's testament to the richness of It Follows that such a reading is possible. I, for one, am convinced by Morrow's argument.
Do you agree that It Follows is about surviving sexual abuse?
For more horror fan theories, check out this amazing reading of Scream here.