It Follows is a very complex film when it comes to a physiological thriller. The film was met with very mixed reviews. Simply put, you ether love it or you hate it. I may have never seen the film myself if I hadn’t come across the soundtrack by Rich Vreeland , also known as Disasterpeace. The sound track is one of the best I’ve heard for a horror film in a while and it definitely contributes to making this a half decent film.
The film is about teenager Jay Height, played by Maika Monroe, who sleeps with her new boyfriend and ends up being tracked by some strange entity because of it. The entity only approaches at a walking pace and can take the form of anyone, so if you sit still long enough, it’ll get you. The other scary thing about the creature is that only current or past targets of it can see it. No one else can see it making the victim seem crazy.
The idea works well in this setting because the teenagers are potentially trapped in one place with responsibilities to their parents or their teachers, but the film fails to capitalize on this opportunity. In fact, almost all adults seem absent from most of the film. Instead, these teens are free to drive off into the country side and back to escape the creature. With that said, the creature does constantly catch up and you begin to wonder when it will show up next and if they will even see it coming.
One thing that is known for sure about the creature, is that it likes to taunt its victims by taking the shape of someone the victim loves. It also feel the need to be buck naked. As strange as this is, the nudity seems to play to the horror of the creature and also helps to symbolize it as a entity related to sex.
There was some complaints about the cinematography of this film, but to be honest, it didn’t bug me. What did bug me was the inconsistency of the creature and how it kills. In the opening scene we follow a young girl who seems afraid of something and her dad realizes something is wrong. She apologies to her dad before getting in her car and running off. Her apology seems to be more for her past sins and not for running off. This hits home on the morality of the film, but we’ll touch on that more later. Anyway, she ends up at the beach and awaits her fate. We don’t see the creature get her, but we see the aftermath. A gruesome death, probably from blood loss.
To me, this was perfect. We were only given enough information to be creeped out by this unknown entity that causes us to fear it. Where the filmmakers went wrong was with the death of character Greg Hannigan played by Daniel Zovatto. In his death scene Jay Height witnesses the creature enter Greg’s house.
She follows to witness the creature attack Greg in the appearance of Greg’s mother, dry humping him to death while giving off electricity like an electric eel. How is this at all similar to the intro death scene? This scene kind of ruined the creature for me and just raised more questions. Like why couldn’t the creature just electrocute Jay in the pool during the finale?
What they should have done is left it to our imaginations by having the creature jump Greg, but then hold the camera on Jay’s reactions while playing bone cracking and flesh tearing sounds. That would have kept the creature horrifying for me.
The mortality of this film seems to be about avoiding sex before marriage or just the concept of spreading a walking STD. However, it feels more like a made up catalyst to give the filmmakers a reason for the creature to be going after someone. If the idea is that it is some type of demon, then it makes sense that premarital sex would cause it to come after you.
Maybe with a premise of not being able to run away to permanent safety and the odd cinematography, the film is supposed to be a nightmare. It fits a common nightmare structure that a lot of people have. Hell, I’ve had similar nightmares myself where I’m trying to run away and am struggling to keep my eyes open.
Something that I find interesting that most people miss about this film is that it actually ends on a cliff hanger. During the last shot, after you think the creature is dead, there is someone walking on the sidewalk in the distance behind them. This is meant to leave a thought of doubt with the viewer that it may still follow.