It Follows is what I want my horror to be. It is gorgeously shot. It contained homages to the genre and past time periods, while still feeling original and new. While it is a line of recent horror films using a synth score, I loved every second of it, and felt as though someone made it just for me.
Every single cast member in the movie shined. Everyone felt truly human and real. There was no stilted dialogue, the youths in the film felt honest and earnest in the way that only 16 to 22 year old’s can sound. Even the girl randomly reading from The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, reminded me of myself at 19 when you discover art films and philosophy and you are blown away by ideas that are all so enlightening and insightful to you. When life hasn’t worn off your shiny yet and created that air of disdain that will certainly come later. I have always had a theory that you have a time limit for exposure to things like Eraserhead, and the like, that are surreal and bleak so you create all the little receptors in your brain to enjoy them for the rest of your life. That if you go past that more innocent time before exposing yourself to them, you are too jaded to accept them just as they are and truly love them. I think a sort of patience for that sort of storytelling is lost as you age, it’s a muscle you have to use not to lose.
Another wonderful little touch reminded me of ET where the entire movie is shot at the level of the children, or perhaps Spike Lee’s Crooklyn when the kids visit the family out in the suburbs and the style of the movie entirely changes to show that the kids are out of their element, and are somewhere that feels so alien to them. Anytime the movie focuses on the adults, or people out of the primary cast of characters, the focus gently changes and it’s as though you are seeing them out of the corner of your eye. It is a wonderfully subtle touch.
My friend Michael commented, as we were leaving the theater and I was discussing how so many pieces from the movie reminded me of the poverty of my childhood, that of course when your wood paneled console television dies, you simply set the new television atop it. He said that the movie reminded him so very much of his teens, I completely agreed. Though there are touches that I think will only be noticed by people of our age (little pieces like the televisions that are so blatantly late 70s early 80s with it’s VHF and UHF knobs), it is all done in the vein that is used with children’s television where there is an undercurrent of adult humor that doesn’t interfere with the children’s enjoyment at all, but allows those in the know to get a special, for us, in-joke. This is not hampered at all by all the nods to Carpenter’s The Thing and Halloween.
I sat in the theater watching in a panic filled dread for most of the movie. To me that is fear; fear is in the waiting. It isn’t in the gore, or splatter, or spelled out explanations. My imagination of what could be coming, or what could happen, is the best tool that you can use against me. I absolutely loved everything about this movie, and can’t wait to both see it again and happily own it.
One last shoutout; Maika Monroe is an amazing talent and an actor to watch for in the future. If you haven’t seen her performance in The Guest, get off you ass and watch it this very instant. I cannot wait to see what she does next.
So I recommend this movie with high pitched squees, please go see this in the theater so we will continue to get imaginative unique movies which buck the big studio trends that only barter in mediocrity with characterless pretty faces and scripts we have seen a million times. We horror fans deserve more, and this movie delivers.