HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: It Follows
HTS Overall Score:86
Good horror movies are always a rarity. In fact, it’s always been that way. Even in the glory days of the 80’s and early 90’s there were TONS of drek to populate the medium even though there were plenty of fantastic ones too. Unfortunately the horror genre has become a little more stale then it should be and riding out on worn out ideas and rehash after rehash. Especially with the rise and fall of the torture subgenre (think “Saw”, “Hostel” and the like). However, lately there has been an uptick in good to great horror movies, introducing movies like “The Conjuring”, “Babadook” and now, “It Follows”. Steeped in atmosphere and literally dripping with tasteful homages to films of multiple generations, “It Follows” is a tasty little treat that builds a world like none other and coats every last inch of the screen with suspense and intrigue to the point that I honestly didn’t know what to expect by the end of film.
The film opens with a tinkling electronic/piano score that brings you straight back to the classic “Halloween” in vibe as well as the camera work. Said camera watches a young girl run down her street, terrified of something that seems to be following. As hard as the audience and the other people she encounters tries, we just can’t see WHAT is following her. Desperate and frightened we follow her to the beach, where she calls her dad one last time to give the famous “goodbye” speech. Next thing the viewer sees is her dead and disfigured on the beach in the morning. Cut forward to our main heroine, Jay (Maika Monroe), your average teen girl. She and her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jack Weary), are going out on the perfect date and all is roses and kittens till that night. The date itself seems to go fantastic, with romance, beer and the night culminating in a bit of illicit fun for the couple, which is where things go horribly wrong. Chloroformed and tied to a chair in the middle of a parking garage, the horrifying truth comes out. Hugh informs Jay that now that they have had sex she has a monster following her. A creature that is relentless, tireless, and luckily for Jay, rather slow moving. It will follow her until it finds her and kills her, and the only way to get rid of it is to do the same thing and copulate with someone else, where therein it will follow that person and so on and so forth. The only problem is that if the person you give the monster to dies, then it goes back to hunting the person before that and so on and so forth till it gets back to the beginning (wherever or whoever that may be).
Terrified and rather confused, Jay is dumped on her front porch where her friends run to her aid. Jay is at first rather scared, but still unbelieving until she sees a form approaching her, a person that no one else but she can see. Realizing the horrible truth, she tries to convince her friends that what’s chasing her is real. Of course they don’t see the creature, and mostly they agree to protect her believe that Jay is suffering from PTSD or something, but after a few close encounters with the slow moving “something”, they start to realize that maybe, just maybe, Jay isn’t as crazy as she seems. Hunky Greg (Daniel Zovatto) agrees to “take the curse” so to speak, and cockily stands ahead of the pack to prove them wrong. As horror movies go, this is pretty straightforward and the audience knows that he is gonna bite it pretty fast. Now this adds another wedge into the story as Paul (Keir Gilchrist), one of the group of friends, has had an obvious crush on Jay for most of their lives and the frustration that he feels for not being “chosen” to take the curse on and hopefully pass it on to someone else is blatantly written all over his face. Now the relentless curse is in the wind and soon enough it’s going to come back and haunt Jay again, unless she can do something about it.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=49282[/img]I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I went in to “It Follows”. The internet had burst into chatter the minute it hit theaters and it was instantly hailed a classic and in many people’s words was “very much like Halloween”. That made my brain go straight into “oh, it’s going to be a slasher film”, and I went in with those expectations. “It Follows” is NOTHING like a bloody slasher, and in fact doesn’t rely on much blood, or jump scares or even really SCARY moments at all. Instead it relies on a heavy dose of atmosphere and suspense, artistically weaving in homages to the great horror films of the 80’s and 90’s and even early 2000’s with great respect to the aforementioned films without ever acting like rehash or a knock off. The atmosphere of the film is so dense, so thick that it soon saturates the entire viewing experience like a fog. It never really says WHAT time period it takes place in, and to make matters more ambiguous, you really can’t tell. We see technology that comes from modern times, with black and white TVs and cars and trucks that seem to be a mixture of 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and even a few from modern times. The color grading and filming styles are exactly the same way, some of them feeling like the director took a page from John Carpenter, Wes Craven, and other modern directors as well. The clothes and house styles also fall under that homogenous decade overlap and after a while you realize that the time period isn’t important, as knowing almost detracts from the dreamy state of suspense that David Robert Mitchell is creating around the framework of the plot.
There are some great GREAT points of the movie, but it does have a couple of small flaws, mainly in the pacing. Things can get a teensy bit confusing in the 2nd act and the third act has a cheesy face down with the monster that just didn’t seem as “epic” as it could have been. The ending itself though is pure brilliance, as it leaves the viewer with an unsettling feeling in their stomach, wondering if the monster has truly been defeated and that last flickering scene has sparked many a debate among viewers across the internet. I won’t say it’s a perfect film, but my goodness, it’s a VERY good horror film. One that doesn’t rely on blood, gore or gratuitous sex to build a world of terror (there is some nudity in the film, and a bit of sex, but it’s not glorified nor is the nudity almost ever sexual in any way, they only further add to the creepiness and atmosphere of the movie).
What makes “It Follows” So great isn’t that it adds in plenty of homages to older films, as that alone would have made it a cruddy film in my opinion. The real joy here is watching how they intricately and seamlessly built up a world from the ground up, a world that is real, palpable, and extremely relatable to the audience. Not only that they pretty much scared every teen into abstinence for the next 30 years! I haven’t been this caught up in the nuances of a horror movie in a VERY long time. Listen to the dialog and you’ll see that there is a LOT going on here, with philosophical questions being asked under the guise of teen dialog and deep meanings that really gives the viewer something to chew on much longer than the 100 minute run time.
Rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content including nudity, and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=49290[/img]One of the very best parts of the entire movie is the visual aspect. “It Follows” doesn’t look like a modern film at all, but rather takes notes from Carpenter and the other 70’s and 80’s horror director, but uses much cleaner shooting cameras to get the job done. The yellow and earthy (and some teal) color grading gives the film a decidedly retro look, but one that is clean and clear of grain, noise or artifacting as well. Even though its digitally shot, “It Follows” never looks overly “digital”, if you know what I mean, but blends seamlessly with other horror classic’s in terms of look and texture. Detail is phenomenal and while there are plenty of dimly lit and dark sequences, the film never shows black crush or banding at all. The disc itself seems very clear of artifacts, and certainly deserves the praise I’m heaping upon it. Well done Anchor Bay.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=49298[/img]Horror movies deserve a great audio track, as atmosphere is everything, and “It Follows” doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. Aggressive and heavily detailed, it saturates every channel of your speaker setup with a deep and throbbing bassline that accentuates the ticking and clicking and creaking of the surrounding noises. Dialog is well spoken and clear of any distortions or imbalances in the mix. The surrounds are constantly active with the sounds of churning water, pitter pattering feet, creaking doors and the BEAUTIFUL score from Disasterpeace is simply mesmerizing and a work of art. Flowing through every bit of the movie it literally almost MAKES the entire audio track perfect. LFE, dialog and surrounds blend into an immaculate and extremely accurate piece of art that really is just sumptuous and tasty to the last bite.
• Audio Commentary
• A Conversation with Film Composer Disasterpeace
• Theatrical Trailer
• Poster Gallery
“It Follows” is easily one of my favorite movies of the last year and easily the best horror movie I have seen in quite some time. There really isn’t any typical “scares” in the movie, but it does so much with the atmosphere that you really won’t care that you won’t lose any sleep at night. However, the intelligence and philosophical points of the very well MAY keep you up as you digest the film over many hours. It took multiple viewings on my side to actually start picking up and putting some of those philosophical pieces together. The audio and video encodes are simply superb and while the extras are a bit lacking, I can’t help but highly recommend “It Follows” to anyone who enjoys a good horror movie.
Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi
Directed by: David Robert Mitchell
Written by: David Robert Mitchell
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Anchor Bay
Runtime: 100 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: July 14th 2015
Buy It Follows On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Watch it
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