It Follows (2014) | Step by step! The gripping American indie teen horror will leave you shivering with fear
A noise in the night, the feel of something unknown coming from nowhere, the ominous presence, the unexplained… these have long been staples of classic horror and they’re used to great effect in It Follows, a stylistic, slickly-shot, indie teen horror.
19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe) has a casual sexual encounter with a hot stranger Hugh (Jake Weary), who transfers to her the presence of a shape-shifting phantom that will follow and kill her unless she passes the danger on – again through sex. Haunted by the inescapable sense that something is indeed following her, Jay enlists the help of her neighbourhood friends to find a way to escape the thing that seems always to be just one step behind…
From its chilling opening scene of a young woman fleeing an invisible presence in a dark and deserted suburban street to the heart-racing stand-off inside a mausoleum-like swimming pool centre, It Follows is a gripping, sweat-inducing, waking nightmare – and one that marks second-time director David Robert Mitchell as one to watch.
Mitchell’s sophomore feature puts a horror spin on his 2010 first effort, The Myth of the American Sleepover, and shares similarities with Sofia Coppola’s stunning 1999 debut, The Virgin Suicides. Both are dark explorations of teen angst in suburbia (in Detroit, Michigan no less), driven by cool visual aesthetics (check out the 360-degree pans) and a thrilling electronic music score (Rich Vreeland/Disasterpeace’s synth dirge is awesome, and deafening so).
The film’s horror device – a creeping unknown that takes on many faces, walks ever so slowly, and always in a direct line – is simple (it reminded me of those old playground games of ‘tag’ and ‘statues’), but also terrifyingly effective; and a chilling metaphor for STDs. Let’s face it, sex has always equalled death in teen horror film. It Follows takes the classic trope and gives it a contemporary, expressionistic spin; but it also reduces sex to little more than a bargaining chip, something that will save you, but curse your partner as a result. It’s an inventive concept, but also a cynical comment on modern life.
Posted on February 28, 2015, in American Indie, Horror, Must See, Must-See and tagged American Indie, David Robert Mitchell, Detroit, Disasterpeace, Horror, It Follows, Maika Monroe, Michigan, Must See, Rich Vreeland, The Myth of the American Sleepover, The Virgin Suicides. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.