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It Follows (2014)

DVD Cover (RADiUS-TWC)
Genres:
Horror, Sex Horror, Supernatural Horror
Director:
David Robert Mitchell David Robert Mitchell
Starring:
Keir Gilchrist Keir Gilchrist
Carollette Phillips Carollette Phillips
Loren Bass Loren Bass
Olivia Luccardi Olivia Luccardi
Lili Sepe Lili Sepe

6.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: April 29, 2015
It Follows has been generating a massive amount of buzz in the last few months, so it's somewhat of a miracle that when I sat down in the theater I didn't have the first clue what the movie was about. While I'm not sure if that shifted my opinion one way or the other, I will say I'm not entirely sure where all this hype is coming from.

Jay is every bit a typical suburban girl. She goes to college, hangs out with her sister and friends (one of which obviously harboring an unrequited crush), and her biggest problems in life are the neighbor's kids staring at her in the pool or deciding if she's ready to have sex with her new boyfriend, Hugh. He's a nice enough guy, even if he does have a penchant for seeing people Jay doesn't. Still, she's happy with him and during a moonlit date at a lake, she decides to move things into his backseat. Afterwards, she's waxing poetic about growing up when he knocks her out with a chloroform soaked rag. Not quite the pillow talk she was hoping for. She comes to in an abandoned parking lot tied to a wheelchair, while Hugh is babbling something about a "thing" that's constantly following him. It moves at a walking pace but it never stops, and it can assume the form of anybody it desires. The only way to protect yourself is to have sex with someone, which effectively passes the curse to that person. However, providing they don't pass it on themselves, it only buys enough time until it kills them; after that it turns its attention right back to the previous person. Making matters even worse, the damned souls in this chain are the only ones who can even see it.

Let's just get this part out of the way early. With a plot like this, you have all sorts of learned critics crawling out of the woodwork and spitting out dozens of different explanations as to what Mitchell obviously meant to say with this movie. OK, I get it. This thing is basically a walking, murderous STD, but I'm much more of a straight-forward, face-value kind of guy. I don't even buy into the widely held theory that Michael Myer's knife is a phallic metaphor. To me, he's just a brainwashed psychopath with a knife, and here we're just dealing with a monster that spreads its curse through sex. Just a black and white fact with no deeper hidden connotations, so if you're looking for the former, I'm afraid you won't find that in this review.

It Follows has been gaining almost universal praise for its minimal, slow-burn approach. On the one hand, I kind of agree. There's a simple formula being used here that works beautifully. The shape-shifting aspect constantly keeps you guessing, and Mitchell was smart enough to frequently keep an extra in the background walking towards our protagonists. Along with his penchant for three-sixty degree pans showing just how many strangers were walking in the immediate area, he had our paranoia ramped to the max. With all that said, I don't think he was quite as minimalistic as he should have been. You see, this thing tends to take on the form of older, overweight, half-naked people. Hugh makes a point that its intelligence is almost at an omniscient level, and it proves that in both the climax and the instances where it takes on the form of its victim's loved ones. However, it uses that last bit more as a psychological torment than an attempt at camouflage. If it was so smart, why wouldn't it take on the form of a normal civilian and make its approach less obvious? The answer to this broken logic is simply that Mitchell was trying to disgust his audience. How else can you explain it approaching Jay in the form of an overweight meth addict pissing her panties? It's a shame, because had he been less worried about peddling out these sexually revolting people and used normal looking avatars, the paranoia would have been ramped even higher. Paranoia was one of its major sources of praise after all, and there was no need to undermine that for cheap shock value.

So, I absolutely loved the concept. Again, the shape-shifting aspect and the relatively simple way to pass it on without completely saving yourself carried the story nicely, but only for so long. He kind of exhausted the trick long before the movie was over, and after a pseudo-climax full of bad decisions both in front of and behind the camera, the movie ends without any real resolution. It's like pre-planning never got beyond the concept stage. With this in mind, I don't have a whole lot of hope for the sequel. If they couldn't hold things together for a hundred minutes, what makes them think they need to add another hundred? More importantly, what would they do with it? The simplicity of It Follows is one of the things people love about it, but it also doesn't lend itself to growth. The most common theory is they're going to attempt to head up the chain and find out where it came from and exactly what it is. Personally, I think that's a disastrous idea. Everyone is lauding this one for its less-is-more approach, and that includes the monster's origins. The sheer mystery behind it is a huge part of what makes it so scary. Sure, there's unanswered questions. For example, can you pass it back to the person who gave it to you? Or why stop there, what if you slept with someone who was previously four or five links down the chain? Can it cross oceans? Be nice to know these things, but none of them really lend themselves to the foundation for an entire second film.

In his sophomore release, Mitchell put up a solid effort, but he didn't exactly hit it out of the park. In no way is it worth the level of praise it's garnered. With that said, I still enjoyed it. It was a great concept, but the execution was just a little too shaky. I would recommend seeing it, but maybe at the matinee price. 7/10.
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Lucid Dreams #1: Lucid Dreams - added 05/10/2015, 01:00 AM
I'm shocked you didn't say anything about the music. 8/10
Bill Wolford #2: Bill Wolford - added 10/12/2015, 06:45 PM
meh.....don't get the hype for this. 5/10.
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