It Follows (2014)

Intricacy in camerawork with a synth-arpeggiated score, fine central performance, and dark, original, (needed) metaphoric reflection of the consequences of teen sex with plot holes but a slow-creeping burn in stark parallel to its eponymous being. 8.5/10.

After carefree teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) sleeps with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary), for the first time, she learns that she is the latest recipient of a fatal curse that is passed from victim to victim via sexual intercourse. Death, Jay learns, will creep inexorably toward her as either a friend or a stranger. Jay’s friends don’t believe her seemingly paranoid ravings, until they too begin to see the phantom assassins and band together to help her flee or defend herself.

*Possible spoilers ahead*

Review: One of the freshest indie horror films this year, It Follows is a slow burn that stokes paranoia-laden suspense with a bite as stinging as it’s discord/cacophonous synth scores. Intricacy in camerawork with a phenomenal 80’s-nostalgic spooky soundtrack among the best the genre’s seen in years, fine central performance by Maika Monroe, and dark (but needed) metaphoric reflection on the consequences of teen sex with a slow-creeping escalation that sneaks up on you as much as its titular being might. The film starts off fascinatingly, with intrigue/mystery scenes that draw you in right away with strong backwriting and plot-layout execution by writer/director David Robert Mitchell hinting just enough to keep you at the edge of your seat wanting more. The camerawork is noteworthy with tons of variety in shooting style from revolvings to trackings, and cinematography pretty good admittedly middling for most of the film before coming alive in the spectacularly-locationed finale. The character work is also great with good characterization and development especially amongst its central love triangle and Jay’s friends that add a level of camaraderie and character drama that helps balance the horror. It really feels like an entire Netflix series akin to Stranger Things packed together nicely and impressively in a brisk 1hr40min, fitting enough thrills, intrigue, and a strong message personifying the consequences (and dour atmosphere once the addictive drug-like fix is over in its purposefully-grim atmosphere/tone) of sex in its undoubtedly-inventive concept all under one bow. Flaws include side characters a bit put-offish and crass to start (flatulence and Paul seemingly lacks any sign of life for most of his scenes not tip-toeing well the line between playing off the clever duality of sex vs. after-sex) and admitted inconsistency and plot holes in why the being is sometimes clothed, sometimes not, sometimes known, sometimes not, sometimes pouncing, sometimes just playing with hair, sometimes fast and supernatural, sometimes affected by bullets/physics, and all still while not explaining anything about what the being was, why it was doing any of its mission, etc. Despite these maddening forays, It Follows is still a good indie horror film with a lot to say and a well-executed way of saying them, doing so cleverly, intricately-shot, and slow-burning while still packing a punch.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10