31 Nights of Halloween Horror part 30: It Follows
31 Nights of Halloween Horror: Part 30 in a 31 part series.
One horror film reviewed, every night for the month of October. Tonight we talk about:
It Follows | Dir. David Robert Mitchell | 2014/USA | 100 mins
OK, I’ll follow along.
The movie on everyone’s lips in 2014 was It Follows. It was either a love it or hate it movie, scary as hell or stupid as shit. The camps were divided with no neutral zone in between. I finally got around to watching this flick two years later and have been looking forward to see what all the hype was about. Tonight we finally watch It Follows.
Turn that Creep-O-Meter up to 10. Not since Ringu have I seen a movie that has made the hair on my arms stand up. That is not the only thing It Follows has in common with Ringu. They are both movies involving curses with the only way to get rid of them is to pass them on to someone else. In the case of It Follows, the curse is transferred by having sex with someone. Kind of like “tag you’re it”. And trust me, you don’t want to be it. The movie opens with a girl bolting out of her house and running from something but we have no clue what it is, she jumps in her car and races off ending up at a beach where she seemingly is calling it quits because she tells her parents she loves them over the phone almost as a good bye.
The next morning her body is found twisted in a way no body should be. This was no boating accident, it wasn’t a coral reef and it certainly wasn’t Jack the Ripper, but it wasn’t a shark either. All right movie you have my attention, show me what you got.
Tag, you’re it!
The movie follows Jay and her sister and two other friends all in their late teens who just seem to hang around and watch old movies on old TV sets and read Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. One night Jay goes out on a date with some guy and all seems to go fairly well until after they bump uglies the guy chloroforms Jay and she wakes up tied to a wheel chair in an abandoned building. Well I didn’t see that one coming. The guy seems very nervous as if he is looking for someone as he shines a flashlight all around. He then reveals the curse to Jay.
Seems this dude transferred the curse to her, so now “It” follows her. “It” walks at you slowly, it can take the form of a stranger or even someone you know or love. Don’t let it touch you and don’t ever let it catch you, cause it will kill you. If it kills you the curse reverts back to the last person alive who had the curse. The only way to get rid of it, is to have sex with someone and pass the curse along to them. Only the people who have or have had the curse are able to see “It”, “It” remains invisible to everyone else, though it can be touched and touch you.
The rest of the movie is pretty much Jay running from “It” with her Scooby gang of friends until the end where they attempt to put an end to the curse for good. While the climax is a little sloppy and strays from it’s own rules it set forth, the end itself is very open to interpretation and you can take away with it anything you like.
I need to applaud this movie for
1) coming up with a semi-original concept in a horror movie, something the genre has been lacking for quite some time and
2) making absolutely nothing but a slow walking person fucking scary as hell.
There are no monsters, no hideous creatures, no ghostly spectres nothing that we can give an iconic name or face to. Just people, and as we all know regular people can be some of the scariest of all. The movie builds up such a huge amount of tension and sense of dread about what is coming that we literally find regular people walking towards you nerve wracking.
The movie takes the premise of someone like Michael Myers who just walks towards you, never breaking stride, never breaking character. You can run away, you can try and hide, but he will always find you. Take that similar concept and switch out Michael Myers to an old lady or a freakishly tall guy, or girl or whatever and you have the chills that make up It Follows.
The movie is effective because if we put ourselves in Jay’s shoes it is definitely a “we’re fucked” situation where there is no guarantee solution. The film never gives us a backstory on the curse, who are these followers? Ghosts, spirits demons? Does it matter, I know my ass isn’t going to stick around to find out.
Another slow burn of a movie, as good as it is though, it does have it’s faults. Like I said it breaks it’s own rules after initially setting up the ground work at the beginning of the movie. The kids in the movie, stay out all night, go where ever they want to go with no concern of any parents anywhere. In fact the few times we do see Jay’s mom we never truly see her, her back is always to the cameras, she is out of focus or half out of frame. Is there a reasoning to this?
There are subtle nuisances throughout the movie giving us warning signs of what will happen next. Some are so subtle that if you weren’t looking for them in the first place you would probably miss them altogether.
Making creepy out of nothing at all.
I feel like the movie started to come apart in the final act. With no real ground rules on anything set or breaking ones that were, we don’t really know what to make of anything, but I was always expecting the worst while hoping for the best.
Good job It Follows, for taking nothing and making nothing creepy. It is like The Seinfeld show for horror. Just trade in the laughs for dread. There are even a few jump scares that are effective and not done in a cheap dime store gag kind of way just to get your sweetie to jump in your lap. Because after this movie, you might need to be even more careful who you have sex with, you might just get an STD in the form of a deadly curse. Suddenly herpes doesn’t sound so bad.
Check out the 31 Nights Of Halloween Horror channel for more horror movie reviews.