For 19-year-old Jay, fall should be about school, boys and weekends out at the lake. But after a seemingly innocent physical encounter, she finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, or something, is following her. Faced with this burden, Jay and her teenage friends must find a way to escape the horrors that seem to be only a few steps behind.
ActorsStarring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe, Bailey Spry, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary
Review by Andy Hayler (December 2015):
The Hollywood horror genre has long associated teenage sex with danger, from classics like “Halloween” to countless lesser films. It is such a cliche that it was brilliantly parodied in the superb “Cabin In the Woods”. The twist in low-budget independent movie “It Follows” is that there is some sort of supernatural curse that is passed on via sex, the monster more venereal disease than vampire. The victim ends up being followed by a threatening, slow-moving but changing human figure (usually a distorted image of someone they know) that is invisible to all but the victim. The victim needs to escape from the zombie-like creature or pass the curse on by having sex with someone else lest it will murder them. The protagonist here, Jay, a pretty American college student living in suburban Detrroit, has to somehow deal with her lurching nemesis, with help from her sister and a few friends. Can she run far enough to escape, fight the monster or take the easy way out and pass the curse on?
The film does not entirely work, since there are more plot holes than there should be, even for a low-budget horror film. However it does manage some moments of genuine tension, and the backdrop of Detroit, with its rows of abandoned buddings, is an intriguing one. Perhaps the film-maker could have made even more use of the distressed Detroit setting as metaphor, as George Romero used the shopping mall to critique consumerism in “Dawn of the Dead”. However the cinematography is good and the soundtrack creepy enough. There is also just enough character development for you to care about the fates of the protagonists. As long as you can suspend disbelief sufficiently then you have an enjoyable enough time, and at 97 minutes it does not outstay its welcome.
Review by Bart Hartgring (June 2015):
I am not a great fan of horror movies. Probably more than any other, this genre is plagued by low-budget, low-quality copy cat films. For me, there is always a thin line between ‘copy-cat’ and ‘homage’.
It Follows certainly borrows from classics in the genre. There is a definite John Carpenter feel to the overall plot and to various scenes, channeling in particular elements from ‘Halloween’ and ‘The Thing’. And of course there is the classic horror-movie lesson that Teen Sex Leads To An Ugly Death.
Yet this movie also has a very original feel about it. It builds great atmosphere, the cinematography is a step up from even the better horror movies, and the score is powerful without reverting to ‘slasher-noise-sounds’ to deliver the scares.
Maybe it is an updated version of Carpenter’s style. But I was pleasantly surprised in any case. Not quite as good as The Thing, but definitely worth watching.