By Matt Rooney
“It Follows” is an ingenious horror movie that does exactly what it says it’s gonna do: it follows you. With its mystifying 360-degree shots, the eerie electronic score and its notions on sex and trust, this is a horror movie that engages the mind and targets your fears. It’s also pretty damn creepy to boot.
After the main character has sex with a guy she’s been seeing, innocent and simple blonde girl Jay (Maika Monroe) realizes she’s been tricked into a demonic trap:
She will be followed by a creature that can take the form of anyone she knows as it attempts to catch up with her and do what those types of creatures tend to do to young blonde girls in horror movies. The creature does not run, or hold an axe. It just walks until it gets you. Luckily it can open doors or else it would be a very ineffective beast.
It seems like it would be a great idea that falls-flat in execution, but director David Robert Mitchell uses that to his advantage, as “It Follows” is deceptively simple in its mechanics. The demon (I assume, it’s always demons) can come out from the side of the frame, usually centered on the lead character (often to her unawareness). The result is like a demented Wes Anderson film that uses simple tactics that give whole new meaning to, “Look behind you, stupid girl!”
Usually accompanied with these atmospherically gripping scenes is an attention grabbing score that resembles something like “Drive” meets “Halloween” with a sprinkling of “Psycho.” Like the movie itself, it rings with a nostalgic inspiration but is smart enough to be modern and fresh. Oh, and let’s not forget pretty f***ing creepy.
Now this movie is not like “The Conjuring” or “Paranormal Activity,” two very good modern, mainstream horror flicks, wherein the horror begins lightly and then capitalizes on moody atmosphere with booming scares. “Follows” is relentlessly quiet, almost to a fault in the eyes of everyday moviegoers. It requires you to watch and get the most out of what little the director was trying to capture.
While coming out of the theater I heard someone say, “That seems like a horror movie for our parent’s generation” as if it was an insult. That was precisely Mitchell’s intent, and he succeeded.
Nothing is overblown and when it is it makes full use of the turmoil felt by Jay as her friends have no choice but to watch in horror as she stares into the eyes of this creature. At the same time, it’s a movie about this group of friends and their need to be there for her even as she comes off as completely bonkers. As I said earlier, it’s a movie about trust and relationships.
And by the end the overarching idea is that though you may not be able to shake off the ever lingering horrors of life its all about finding that one person who is willing to go through every step of it with you. It’s hauntingly sweet with haunting being the literal word. Not everyone will like it, but those who appreciate when the genre is treated with respect and ingenuity will find something truly mesmerizing and terrifying about “It Follows,” and it will do just that.