It Follows is the finest horror film in years
Starring Maika Monroe. Rated 14A.
Every once in a while a low-budget indie fright flick comes along that makes everything on the major studios’ horror plate look like a pile of steaming crap. It Follows is that film, right now.
Maika Monroe is note-perfect as Jay, a pretty 19-year-old college student getting by in her average Motor City life. But while they’re out on a date, her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary), chloroforms her after sex in the back seat of his car and binds her to a wheelchair in her undies in the middle of an abandoned parking structure.
Just when you fear that It Follows might turn into yet another gruelling Hostel-type torture-porn epic, we learn that Hugh has only restrained Jay so that he can explain something very important to her. When she comes to, he wheels her around until they spy a naked woman in the distance, shuffling toward them. “This thing, it’s gonna follow you,” he warns. “Somebody gave it to me, and I passed it to you.”
Hugh tells Jay that she can only rid herself of the “follower” by sleeping with someone, but fails to mention that, while slow-moving, it’s powerful enough to rip her limbs off. The rest of the film is a terrifying portrayal of the goodhearted girl’s ordeal as she tries to save herself from the converging ghouls—visible only to her (and us)—without bringing death to those around her.
Writer-director David Robert Mitchell takes the puzzling premise of It Follows and runs it straight into your nightmares. He’s aided by a standout cast of young actors whose naturalistic performances play out against an eerie-as-hell soundtrack by Disasterpeace that echoes the spooky ’70s-style synth work used in drive-in movies by the likes of Goblin, Tangerine Dream, and John Carpenter.
Depressing footage of a decaying Detroit heightens the sense of hopelessness that fuels the engine of fear propelling It Follows, which ultimately leaves you heavy with dread and the notion that it’s the finest horror flick you’ve seen in years.
Mar 25, 2015 at 2:46pm
Is It Follows playing in Vancouver? I've been searching, but can't find any listings for it
Mar 25, 2015 at 4:21pm
It plays at Vancity Theatre this Friday to Sunday, and also opens Friday at Metropolis
Mar 26, 2015 at 7:19am
(But the Vancity is a MUCH nicer venue, so see it there! Best seats in Vancouver). A friend was telling me that the short story that inspired this film is "Casting the Runes," by MR James, which also inspired Tourneur's (related, but non-STD themed) Night of the Demon - anyone else heard/ read that? I don't actually see it but...
Mar 26, 2015 at 11:36am
Night of the Demon is a fantastic effort. I caught it by chance on late-night TV waaaaaay back, probably 30 years ago, and had no idea it was directed by the semi-genius behind a trio of moody Val Lewton numbers 15 years previous. The virtual absence of the "demon" (I remember a great train scene) only helped one of the original "less is more" proponents (that maxim applied to the budgets as well as—what passed for—the "special effects").
I have never seen it since, despite several false alarms with similar-sounding titles. I remember marvelling at how engrossing it was despite its simplicity (and also despaired at their choice of lead, Dana Andrews, obviously shipped over to provide some American box-office punch, although he was serviceable enough).
Mar 26, 2015 at 4:04pm
it isn't full-out horror, but 'what we do in the shadows' is an excellent recent low budget film.
Mar 26, 2015 at 4:28pm
I didn't know about the MR James connection but there is a Val Lewton influence in It Follows. Despite the sensational premise the movie does have a less-is-more aesthetic, the pacing is unusually measured, the compositions are framed to hold, playing foreground off against background; encroachment, death's implacable approach...
Mar 26, 2015 at 5:20pm
what he said