My newest favourite horror is It Follows, and judging by reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (96%) and IMDb (7.2/10), I am not alone.
While It Follows is a fresh take on horror, it still embodies classic undertones within the plot, the score and the dread inducing moments that make up a great horror. After a strange sexual encounter, teenager Jay finds herself haunted by an inescapable notion that someone, or something, is following her.
It could look like someone you know, or a stranger in a crowd. Whatever helps it get close to you.
How I’ve described this movie to my friends is “a sexually transmitted ghost”. Of course, this often leads to laughter and raised eyebrows, while they wonder just how much I actually like horror – especially considering the hilariousness of the description. Despite how silly it may sound, this movie is layered with subtext (something I thoroughly enjoy pulling apart), carefully executed scenes where the dread builds and little to no stupid ‘jump scares’ that always tend to annoy me in newer horror films. It also has very little gore (I am struggling to think of any), which in current horrors there is always one of the two.
The score in and of itself is unsettling and chilling. This is what attracted me to the film in the first place. It epitomizes the same kind of unknown horror of films made in the 1970s (think Carpenter’s Halloween), and you find yourself immersed in a world without quite knowing how you got there.
The acting is pretty on par. By choosing relatively unknown actors, you aren’t pulled from the movie trying to figure out where exactly you know them from, but they haven’t sacrificed good acting for regular run-of-the-mill horror movie actors (ie. awful).
Despite the basic plot line, this differs from regular horror movie subplots of ‘girl sleeps with boy, girl is then in trouble. Thus, sex is bad.’ Jay is a regular girl, who is dating Hugh/Jeff (he obviously used a fake name) and after a few dates, engages in sexual activity. Not unheard of for college girls, and certainly less frisky than any Gossip Girl episode. When he shows her what will ‘follow her’, and explains that if she dies, it will go after him, he is basically passing on the responsibility of the curse. Granted, passing it along a STG (sexually transmitted ghost) doesn’t really sound responsible. But it does show how quickly and easily it can be to become ‘infected’.
The best part about the ‘monster’ of the film, is the constant, deliberate and harrowing walk. It doesn’t run. It walks. Always. If you don’t pass it on, you need to keep running the rest of your life. The ethical debate arises of “should I pass this onto someone else?” You can’t just pass it onto anyone. Pass it to someone who doesn’t know what’s coming will result in them dying, and It will follow you again. Pass it onto someone you know and love… can you live with the guilt?
Have you seen It Follows? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!