Directed By: David Robert Mitchell
Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi
Tag line: "It doesn't think. It doesn't feel. It doesn't give up"
Trivia: Shot mainly with wide-angle lenses to give the film a more expansive, intimidating feel
It’s out there, trying to get you. It moves slowly… methodically… but it knows exactly where you are. And it’s coming… it’s always coming. If you drive a hundred miles away, you can buy yourself a little time, but it will eventually find you. You can send it after someone else, but once it catches that person (whoever it may be), it will chase you again. This is the basic concept behind writer / director David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows, as well as the reason it’s such an incredibly unnerving horror film.
Jay (Maika Monroe), an average teenage girl from the suburbs of Detriot, has her life turned upside-down following a single night of passion with her new boyfriend Hugh (Jake Weary). As it turns out, Hugh was being followed by a dangerous entity intent on killing him, and by having sex with Jay, he “passed” this entity (which is invisible to everybody else in the world) on to her. Hugh tells Jay that, if she wants to survive, she, too, will have to sleep with someone, and that she should do it sooner than later (if the creature should kill Jay before she does so, then it would again start chasing Hugh).
Though not initially convinced that Hugh is telling the truth, Jay soon discovers the threat is very real, and turns to her sister Kelly (Lili Sepe) and their friends Paul (Keir Gilchrist) and Yara (Olivia Luccardi) for help. Once she realizes that the creature won’t stop following her, Jay wrestles with the idea of having sex with someone else. But can she, in good conscience, pass this curse on to an innocent person, or will Jay instead find a way to defeat the monster before it gets her?
Throughout It Follows, director Mitchell employs a number of long, uninterrupted shots designed to build up the tension in each scene. In the opening sequence, a young woman named Annie (Bailey Spry) darts out of her house and into the middle of the road. The camera doesn’t cut away; it stays with Annie as she looks around nervously, acting like she is running from something, and even though we see nothing chasing her, nor have any idea what’s going on at this point in the movie, the panic in Annie’s eyes is enough to bring us to the edge of our seats.
The cast, as a whole, does a fine job, especially Maika Monroe as Jay, the teenager unwittingly tossed into the middle of a nightmare. Yet it’s the monster itself that makes It Follows such a creepy motion picture. Much like Jason in the Friday the 13th series, this entity is in no hurry. It walks, ever so slowly, towards you, taking the form of a different person each time, yet still moving in a manner that is unmistakably menacing. Even more unsettling is the fact it never stops chasing you. After one particularly close call, Jay, Kelly, and the others, along with Jay’s neighbor Greg (Danile Zovatto), head to a remote beach house, which, considering it took an entire night to get there, is presumably very far away. A few days pass, and Jay begins to let her guard down. As a result, she almost pays the ultimate price.
That is what makes It Follows such an unforgettable horror film: no matter how far you run, this creature is out there, and it is coming to get you. Stylish and clever, It Follows is, from start to finish, a nerve-racking experience.