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Some thoughts on It Follows: https://16miles.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/it-follows-2014/
How has a film about a sex-ghost been so well received?
The premise of It Follows sounds so… dumb. It’s a premise built on dream logic. To put it in words is selling it short. A film about a relentless walking ghost, slow, but persistent, always walking. Wherever you go, it follows. You can’t kill it, and running only buys you some time to breathe. It is always in pursuit. And when it catches you, you die.
The only way to end the nightmare is to pass it on to someone else like an STD, through sex. Get some strange and it’s their problem now.
It’s hard not to find an allegorical message about coming-of-age teens and the long-term consequences of rampant fucking. In reality though, this is not an important part of the film. What is important is creeping you the fuck out.
There are no cheap shocks in It Follows. Ominous dread builds through long, drawn out camera work and the knowledge that somewhere out there, ‘it’ is following. There are no surprises because all the while you know what is coming. And that is the most terrifying.
There is a scene where the main character jumps in a car and drives with her friends to the coast for respite. The audience gets a brief glimpse of normality. Then, while the main character relaxes on a deck chair, on a beach with her friends, we see it. It emerges from the bushes behind her, slow moving, we see it coming. For so long you see it coming. The tension is in your desperate want for the character to turn around and see it too.
There is a cinematic quality to the film that is reminiscent of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. Part of the credit for this goes to the soft-haunt-neon-synth ambient soundtrack, but the rest of the credit must go to cinematographer Mike Gioulakis.
It Follows is about as perfect a horror film as there is. And that’s because it is subtle, and it indulges itself the time to pull you in. Because it cares about you as a viewer. It doesn't want you to shock you. It wants to terrify you.
It Follows' premise sounds exploitative - it's about a sexually-transmitted demon - but it's not. The film creates an iconic monster, on the cheap, as it were, that's super-creepy and is sure to make you paranoid in any public space. And while effective as a horror film, it's also got that subtext I crave that pushes a film beyond its genre conventions. The film isn't about STDs, it's about the loss of innocence sex represents (a common horror trope) and the feeling that, as you enter your twenties, life (and thus, death) is already catching up to you. And that's demonstrated in the way the kids in the film keep talking about their childhoods, and in the production and sound design, which hark back to the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s even though we're clearly in the modern era, twisting horror flick nostalgia in on itself. Very little gore, but some disturbia. In tone, it reminded me of something like Teeth, but with better acting. Recommended.
One of the most effective low budget horror films for how simple the story is. Definitely one of my favorites of all time.
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In 4 official lists
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This movie ranks #48 in A.V. Club's The Best Movies of the 2010s
This movie ranks #101 in TSZDT's The 1,000 Greatest Horror Films
This movie ranks #205 in TSPDT's 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
This movie ranks #214 in FOK!'s Film Top 250