Film Review by Clayton Barnett
For nineteen-year-old Jay, Autumn should be about school, boys and week-ends out at the lake. But after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, she finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, something, is following her. Faced with this burden, Jay and her friends must find a way to escape the horrors that seem to be only a few steps behind.
One of the most chilling and atmospheric modern horrors of recent years, It Follows, one of the breakout films of last year’s International Film Festival, will get under you skin.
With a small $2 million budget writer director David Robert Mitchell (The Myth of the American Sleepover) delivers a sparse script married with striking visuals. The concept is simple and updates the classic ‘have sex and die’ horror staple. Mitchell does well driving the narrative with strong momentum, the story never lags as the tension mounts.
His visual style is a throwback to some classic 80s slasher flicks, but with far more restraint and long, intense tracking shots. The creeping terror that builds is just so unsettling and the resulting frights are very effective. The few effects shots are handled well, apart from one of the final scenes that just doesn’t gel with the rest of the movie.
Mitchell’s done well casting a bunch of effective fresh faces, who all hold their own and make the most of their simple characters. Lead star Maika Monroe has enough scepticism and resourcefulness, and the right amount of terrifying dread, to makes a great horror heroine.
David Robert Mitchell has put his name on the map with this smart, original and absolutely terrifying modern horror. You’ll be looking over your shoulder when you go back to your car after seeing this.
Releases: 30th April 2015
Rating: R16 – Contains violence, horror & sex scenes
Duration: 100 minutes
Starring: Maika Monroe, Jake Weary, Keir Gilchrest, Daniel Zovattao, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe
Director: David Robert Mitchell (The Myth of the American Sleepover)
Jay is short for Jamie, which some have said is a reference to scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis. In the film, Jay has a younger sister named Kelly. In real life, Jamie Lee Curtis also has a younger sister named Kelly.
The theatre featured at the beginning of the film is the Redford Theatre, a historic Japanese style theatre with a fully functioning Wurlitzer organ, in Redford, Detroit, MI. The Evil Dead (1981) premiered there.
The poem that Kelly's English teacher reads out loud is TS Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock". The poem seems to share some commonalities with the film.
The dilapidated house that Hugh hid out in and that Jay and her friends explored is a house style called the American Foursquare. This style was popular from the 1890s through the 1930s. Many floor plans for the foursquare feature "circular" traffic patters where one can proceed through several rooms and return to the starting point without ever reversing the path: kitchen, vestibule, living room, dining room, and kitchen, for instance. In some homes, adjoining bedrooms shared closets and bathrooms. This kind of "fluid" floor plan would make this style of house particularly desirable if an escape from "It" was needed.