Reviewed by: Finnian Williamson
IT doesn’t think. IT doesn’t feel. IT doesn’t give up.
Like student loans, Facebook stalkers, procrastinated assignments, unused gym membership, deep secrets and growing up, IT will catch up on you one day, no matter how far you run. IT can be all of these things. But like everything else in life, IT’s probably about sex.
But nearly any guessing game is valid given how simple the premise of It Follows is. With its perfect D grade horror title, It Follows follows innocent college girl Jay losing her virginity to a hunk, who on the outside appears like your regular American dick. But he’s more than that, cause he has gifted Jay with what can only be the most terrifying STD ever. The disease is called IT, a shape-shifting figure which walks towards its prey at a slow but relentless pace. When IT reaches you, IT will ruin you. And you’ll die. Except you, the cursed victim, can’t see this figure. That’s the plot’s entire 100 minute running time.
How can such a simple idea – with a bunch of highly generic teenage characters – keep you on the edge of your seat all the way through? Simple fact: it can’t. It Follows has terrified and disturbed many a cinemagoer. But if you’re in the same camp as me, on the first watch you tensed up but didn’t give into its desire to scare you shitless.
Right from the get go, it’s the look and sound of It Follows that sets it apart from your SAW VIII gore-fest. With the opening 360-degree tracking shot and 80’s synthesisers blaring in the background, the tone is perfectly set. The John Carpenter-like music (director of 70’s horror classics Halloween, The Thing) gives the whole film a woozy, nightmare-ish feel – matched with endless panning shots of seemingly ordinary situations. The premise itself is like a never-ending nightmare, and the whole time you’re waiting for something to JUMP out. More often then not, nothing happens. IT doesn’t come. And that’s where the frustration lies. It’s largely mood over story – and it’s got one hell of a mood.
The numerous ‘pointless’ scenes of It Follows have confused many, with there ultimately not being meat to it’s story for it to be fully engaging. It mightn’t grab your for it’s entirety but makes up for it by making you think. It’s going to be the ‘WTF’ film of the year for us who grew up on the crappy horror remakes and torture porn sequels. But for those willing to invest them in what’s a surprisingly thoughtful modern horror flick, you’ll be rewarded. The representation of suburban teen life in all its mundanity that makes the movie what it is. We watch the apparent boredom of teenage existence, but with an undercurrent of pure anxiety… It’s like Palo Alto or The Virgin Suicides were remade as horror films, matched to scariest soundtrack in years.
But…what is IT? IT plays out like a bad dream. It’s uneasy, tense and exhausting. But once you wake up, you’ll want to find out everything IT could have meant. An indie fright flick that makes you think?
All in all, it’s the perfect Luna Cinemas horror film.