It Follows was a satisfying and efficient twist on the horror film genre when it came out in 2014, that honours its predecessors with a 1980’s horror-vibe while expanding on the genre’s trademark thrills.
It Follows took a fresh new take on the horror genre when it came out in 2014, looking at sexually active teenagers and the dangers of (unprotected? Pre-marital? Maybe just bad?) sex. This is the type of tale a parent would tell their teenager about the importance of keeping ones “virtue” or so they wouldn’t get stuck helping pay any potential new grandchild’s expenses.
The film’s central story starts with a teenage girl, Jamie (The Guest’s Maika Monroe), who leaves the movie theatre with her date, Hugh (Jake Weary of television’s Chicago Fire), after he is spooked when pointing out a woman in a yellow sundress; the problem being Jamie couldn’t see her. She grants him a second date, ignoring the third date rule, and has sex with him in the back of his beater. Little does she know she has been gifted a curse, passed along to each victim, after sexual intercourse. Death will follow her until she sleeps with someone else, but it will only work if that one person will sleep with another, because, if death kills you, it goes back after the original host (basically, if a Ponzi scheme worked this way, the world would be a better place).
It Follows has a real vintage 80’s horror film vibe, particularly in scenes with the friends dealing with how to destroy the curse. When the film hits its stride, it begins to work on multiple levels that leave the viewer to consider multiple interpretations. Is the film an allegory on sexually transmitted diseases? The price Centennials are paying for Baby Boomers free-spirited sexual revolution of the 1970’s? An abstract metaphor on the social stigmas and pressuring, ultimately young women, society has on a person’s sexuality or how men use sex to oppress women? The possibilities are endless and with frightening results.
It Follows was written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, and he wisely takes a new, exciting twist by using a vulnerable subject like sex to unnerve his audience. His film could be considered an exercise in more of a thinking horror film, instead of a go-for-broke slasher picture (which would explain the difference in the Rotten Tomatoes critics score versus its user grades); so, admittingly, it may have benefited from a jump scare or two. Also, one would wonder plot-wise if one of the victims just performed what the Oxford Dictionary describes as “self-abuse”, that could be considered taking one for the team, and end the curse entirely.
As is, It Follows is a satisfying and efficient twist on the horror genre, that honours its predecessors with a 1980’s horror-vibe, while expanding on the genre’s trademark thrills. The film is currently on Netflix and Mitchell’s follow up film, Under the Silver Lake, is due to come out in December.