Horror-Wood Blog-a-Thon: It Follows
THERE BE MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD! LOOK OUT!
Horror movies come far and few in-between these days. It makes me wonder why studios aren’t making good horror anymore. Maybe its the choice of film or simply the genre is not big as it once was. However, the true realm seems to be more within independent productions. And to be fair, tons of horror movies like Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street were independent films that became surprise hits. So it makes sense to see how much a filmmaker can do on limited resources. Sometimes the results are rather surprising making for a suspenseful entry.
So far, 2015 has seen tons of independent horror films get the limelight of success and that’s in part because of how effort one has with what they got. It leaves more imagination to the viewer and creative control on how to deliver the frights. But of all the movies that came out this year, I can’t remember a time when something like It Follows got so much praise. Critics hailed as the best and original scary movie of the year while audiences appeared to agree to an extent. But with all that hype and praise, is it really worth it?
The plot centers around a college student named Jay (Maika Monroe) who has sex with her boyfriend. But as it turns out, a night with him turns deadly as he passes on a strange curse to her. Apparently, anyone who has sex with this “cursed person” has a demented stalker named “IT” who will keep on walking towards the cursed victim until “IT” finally makes contact and kills it. The stakes are raised when they reveal “IT” can only be seen by those who are cursed and invisible to others. And no matter how far Jay runs, “IT” always seems to track her down and takes many different forms of certain people. The only other option she has is to pass the curse. But even that gets more complex when the movie reveals that once “IT” kills the next person the curse was passed to, “IT” will go down the line and kill everyone who has the curse until it gets passed on to another.
Already, I’m very open to the idea. “IT” is not an alien or a creature and in fact, has no true form. How scary would that be to have a stalker that looks like someone you know slowly go after you? I know its a little weird with the slow moving killer but it tries to take it in different angles. It gets tedious at first but then reveals that “IT” is invisible to others but alive and well to the cursed person. Killing “IT,” however, is very problematic. Already they set up the rules of this movie and sometimes they get contradicted in the weirdest way. In one scene, Jay shoots a bullet at “IT” but it proves not to be very effective. Yet in the climax, “IT” gets shot at multiple times and succumbs to its death. However, they do leave the possibility open that “IT” could be alive but the execution makes this very unclear. Ambiguous stuff like that is fine but when you already set up something early on that doesn’t defeat the monster and yet does later has me scratching my head in confusion.
Even more weird is the environment this movie is set in. I guess the filmmakers wanted to go for a timeless approach but there are elements here and there that really feel out of place. One minute, we see old-fashioned television sets mixed with ones from the 1990s. Then, we see a mixture of automobiles from the 1970s and modern times which is fine. A movie theater that shows Alfred Hitchcock films and has a pipe organist from the silent film ear. And strange of all is one character who has a make-up mirror that works as a tablet. You heard me right! A small mirror is used as some form of Kindle. This throws me off seeing setting and visuals help paint what kind of world your movie is in. Here, I have no idea what to make of this. With so much weird stuff, its hard to pinpoint if this movie is set during a different era or just placed in its own reality.
The acting I also can’t say is the best either. I had a hard time trying to connect with these characters because of how wooden the performances are. I don’t know if it was intentional but most of the characters just feel one-note and cliche. If there was a point to this and be some form of parody, that would be fine but when real tension is added, it feels hard to care for someone with really awkward lines like “When I was a little girl my parents would not allow me to go south of 8th mile.”
In fact, where are the parents in this film? Most of the time we do some adults but the world is more focused on the adolescent characters. It would have helped to have an older person to give some clarity to the world and who knows about “IT” but it comes off feeling like a weird Charlie Brown special. Even most the teenager characters don’t have much witt or clever sense to them. Again, if this was meant to be a parody, that would have been fine. But it seems the more logical choice to avoid “IT” is to keep hopping from one abandoned house to the next. Couldn’t they check for weaknesses or at least have a better idea than just keep running away all the time?
More curious is how critics sated It Follows as a commentary on teen sex and sexual diseases. Yet director David Robert Mitchell stated that the movie was meant to have a dream like quality on how we can’t avoid the nightmare as sex and love are the only things that push it away for a short amount of time. I can at least understand some of that but if it would have made more sense if the whole movie was a dream. However, It Follows sets itself up in such a strange environment giving us rules that don’t get respected much and people that are uninteresting as toast. Maybe if David Lynch directed this, he would have had a better handle seeing he knows how to blend reality and the surreal nature of our dreams and dark desires to the point it could happen. Overall, I like the concept and the idea seeing both are unique and fresh. But what keeps me from giving a solid recommendation is just how bizarre the execution is; even for my taste. I appreciate the scary atmosphere at times but it tends to slow down the pace and enjoyment a bit too much. If your curious, give this one a rental and judge for yourself.
Posted on October 15, 2015, in Horror-Wood 2015, Rental Corner and tagged David Robert Mitchell, Horror, Horror-Wood, Horror-Wood Blog-a-Thon, independent, It Follows, Maika Monroe, Sex, surreal, teenagers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.