As a cautionary tale this 2014 horror film, It Follows, written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, could be called the ultimate std movie and it definitely creeps you out after watching. While this film could be seen as the apex of sexual contraception, although the director stated in an interview that even protected/safe sex would not stop the “disease” from spreading.
Starring Maika Monroe as Jay Height, the film follows her journey of terror after having sex with Hugh/Jeff (Jake Weary). Things immediately take a downturn when Jay is drugged and knocked unconscious after she and Hugh have sex in the back of his car. She wakes to find herself tied to a chair in an abandoned building.
Hugh tells her that something will be coming for her. It walks, it may look like a loved one or someone she knows, and that if it gets to her she will die and then he, Hugh, will be next. The only way, the boy tells her, to be rid of the threat is to have sex with someone else and tell them of this curse.
As events spiral out of control, Jay, her family and friends all try to defeat this curse with varying degrees of success. At the end the film it appears that whatever the group did has not worked, or has it?
This is Mitchell’s third time in the director’s chair and his second feature length film. This newcomer has hit the perfect combination of suspense and story to scare the pants off the audience. While the overall feeling is one of creepy versus terror, there are moments where fear rules the viewer. As the “walkers” move ever closer, the soundtrack uses a mix of white noise and music to crank up the nerves.
The tenseness caused by this mix is almost excruciating. The fact that these specters are slow makes them feel a little like George A. Romero zombies out for a stroll. These zombies are not out to munch on anyone, though, they want to kill the victim.
Jay goes through a series of indignities, the first being knocked out and tied up after sex with Hugh. Later she swims out to a boat with three men on it. While the camera does not linger on any of the events on that vessel, it is apparent that a desperate Jay has slept with them all trying to pass on the curse. She flees her house in her underwear and pedals a bike down the road to get away from one walker. Later she crashes a borrowed car attempted to run away from the walking threat.
It has been pointed out that Mitchell’s film has no specific time period, as well as having items in the film that either do not exist or are anachronisms. Neither the time period nor the props have any bearing on the story however. The tale of a sexual predator, of a different sort, tracking down sexual partners and then killing them before moving on to the next in line is terrifying without any help from external factors.
Another facet of the threat to Jay, and later to Paul and Greg, is that no one else can see the thing stalking the victim. Although there is a great scene with a beach towel and a gun that adds another dimension to the film and its face-changing boogeyman.
It Follows may feature a big bad that is generated by having sex, but the real fear comes from its oddness. Even the “normal” appearing walking threats are off-kilter and different enough that one notices them the second they show up in the distance.
The cleverness behind having these walkers appear so far away and then moving up closer to the victim, oh so slowly, is that it gives everyone plenty of time to panic. When Hugh, who turns to later be a teenager named Jeff, tells Jay about the curse and what not to do, he mentions never going into a building with only one exit. “They may be slow but they are not stupid,” he says.
That said, the “things” take on appearances of friends, relatives, and/or complete strangers who are either supremely messed up or so strange looking that no one would allow them to get too close. In one bizarre instance, the walker takes on the form of its victim.
Watching It Follows will not make anyone lose popcorn or contact with their seat. There are no “jump scares” but…
This film will give you the creeps by the end whether you are a promiscuous teenager or not. David Robert Mitchell has proven that in the area of horror he is an expert who bears watching. If this man sticks with horror he could well become a legend. 5 out of 5 stars for an original storyline that could put you off sex for life.
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