MAIKA MONROE OLIVIA LUCCARDI KEIR GILCHRIST DANIEL ZOVATTO LELI SEPE
David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows, which is currently sitting around 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, suffers from the assumption that unorthodox equals genuine. Based on a reoccurring nightmare Mitchell has, It Follows attempts to avoid horror genre clichés only by falling into even worse clichés. Presented in a voyeuristic style, the film opens with a young woman in stilettos and a Victoria’s Secret panties running for dear life down a suburban sidewalk. This is only the beginning of the films attitude towards sex and the horror genre. Filled with mostly unrecognizable actors, It Follows doesn’t live up to the hype and nor does it provide anything substantial in the way of thrills.
Jay (Monroe) is headed on another date with her new boyfriend Hugh (Jake Weary), following an abrupt exit from the movie theater they stood in line for, he takes her to dinner and then “parking”. After they are finished, he apologizes for strapping her into a wheelchair, drugging her with chloroform and forcing her to see what is now going to come after her. Hugh got it from some girl he slept with at a bar, now passing it on to Jay. She explains her predicament to her friends, including Kelly (Sepe), her sister and childhood friends Greg (Zovatto) and Paul (Gilchrist). Both boys offer to have sex with the 19 year old, all in the nature of helping her with the panic and terror of course and maybe understand what it is she is so afraid of.
The time period had me thinking harder than the plot, we see television sets from the 1980’s, one cell phone in the very beginning, 70’s cars driven by lead characters then 90’s vehicles parked on the side of the road. Sure it’s filmed in Detroit (they have the cheapest tax incentives) but the era is inconsistent and never explained. Mitchell seems intent on delivering a horror film alternative to cheap American horror films with a numeral in the title, his terror is supposed to be in the atmosphere or the viewer’s imagination. However when our heroine doesn’t want to be alone, surrounding herself with friends in the bedroom, hears a noise she jumps on her bike in the middle of the night and heads to a creepy playground in the middle of the woods, alone.
The score mostly dictates the mood and suspense of It Follows, pulse pounding in moments of movement and silent when we understand something is about to happen. Camera work and sparse dialogue force the viewer to watch as the teens run, drive, bike and swim to various locations to buy time before the slow walking, shape changing “it” finally catches up to Jay. Some have noted that the concept of the film seems to be warning viewers about the dangers of having premarital sex, as if to say, look what could happen. It seems more perverse than that to me, with sex being used as the delivery device. The script asks more questions than it answers and will leave most viewers, unimpressed with the highly regarded film asking, “that’s it”, when the credits roll at a seemingly ill concluded moment.
Final Thought – Forgettable, won’t even follow you past the movie theater parking lot.
By: Dustin Chase