**WARNING: CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS**
Without a doubt, if you have sex in a horror film its guaranteed that deadly consequences will await. Director/Writer David Robert Mitchell takes this concept to a whole new, terrifying level in his first genre feature It Follows. Arguably a supernatural metaphor for the fear of sexually transmitted diseases through unprotected sex; It Follows is a nightmarish ordeal that sees nineteen year old Jay (Maika Monroe) stalked by a mysterious entity following a meaningless sexual encounter with her date. Her only option is to pass the curse on to the next unsuspecting victim in order to free herself of the strange presence that follows…
It Follows is an intense throwback to John Carpenter’s style of horror of the 70’s/80’s; its an atmospheric experience with suspenseful set pieces that effortlessly embeds a constant sense of dread into the viewer. While the majority of modern horror relies on gore effects and jump scares to garner a reaction, It Follows is subtly scary, sticking to the approach introduced by Halloween (1978) where less is more. Its the cinematography that provokes the consistent creepy tone. The camera pans around giving the feeling that there is always something there, while the lingering long shots down the suburban streets create unease. From its emotionally charged opening moments until the credits roll there’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.
The visuals in the film speak volumes as the script is minimal. There’s very little dialogue and a quiet ambience, making it all the more eerie. There’s no real deep character development but the performances manage to convey a sense of real fear and despair. Maika Monroe, the breakout star of Adam Wingard’s The Guest, is expressive as Jay (allegedly a reference to Jamie Lee Curtis); she appears pained and frightened suggesting that she knows whatever it is will catch up with her sooner or later.
It Follows is a visual piece, combining an art-house style with traditional horror conventions. The focus is on a group of teenagers making irresponsible decisions with no one to turn to. The lack of authority or parental roles are notably absent, allowing the teenagers to cope by themselves which is a scary concept in itself. It Follows doesn’t make the era its set in obvious however with no technology in sight, it appears to be echoing back to around the late 70’s-early 80’s. As far as teen horror’s go this one is incredibly clever in what it does.
Surreal, effective, chilling paranoid horror that will linger in the mind long after viewing with its striking, disturbing imagery. It Follows is available to own on DVD and Blu-Ray, watch it alone in the dark if you dare! A modern classic in the making.
Hayley Alice Roberts