It Follows

Screams resonant success!


It Follows

  • Screams resonant success!

It Follows

  • Screams resonant success!


Rated

R

Starring

Maika Monroe
Keir Gilchrist
Olivia Luccardi
Lili Sepe
Jake Weary
Daniel Zovatto

Written by

David Robert Mitchell

Directed by

David Robert Mitchell



What to Expect

For a human who’s forever appreciated staying as far away from horror as a film genre as humanely possible, it’s quite uncanny that It Follows would quite suddenly become a film I’d want to pine so desperately for. That its trailers did the trick for me completely is but one piece of the puzzle.

But you see, the other, rather bias-inducing reason would be Maika Monroe’s inclusion as a prime protagonist. Ever since her stints in The Bling Ring, and – particularly – The Guest not long after (let’s leave the rather cringe-inducing Labor Day out of the picture, shall we?), this was only going to be the right next step to take.

Skepticism, as always, does seem to land upon our rather puny, pretentious heads. With horror turning more into a business than a vocal form of expressionism that it began as in the cinematic art form, the audience is treated to a barrage of some rather uninspired excuses in the name of film. And with atrocious remakes (The Last House on the Left) and lazy franchise runners (Paranormal Activity) doing excellent business, one can’t exactly see why studios and producers would behave otherwise.

There are films that – once in a while – do remind us what horror as a genre can do ahead of the simple trick of littering a film with jump scares. The kind of horror that creeps onto you; pins you down and tears you apart, however, are rare, and – as is quite evident – hard to find. Should you be a fan of terrific cinema, you wouldn’t have to look too hard, for every once in a while there appears a silver lining.

Written and directed by David Robert Mitchell in his second film as an auteur since his debut comedy-drama The Myth of the American Sleepover, you’d almost think this is quite the unlikely figure in the genre. Here’s the very important thing, however: if James Gunn or James Wan can as effectively handle action-adventure as they do horror, why can’t Mitchell be successfully able to play out in reverse?

What’s it About?

It Follows chronicles the harrowing misadventures caused by a third-date-gone-wrong when Jay (Monroe) contracts an unusual curse following an intensely intimate encounter with a “new guy” she ends up fancying.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

"Look at me being all badass."

“Look at me being all badass.”

Horror is one of the few extremely dynamic genres in cinema that has, over time, been effectively divided into so many sub-genres – an act of clear versatility. Of late, however, the mainstream audience has been treated to but a very limited set of options, with slasher and supernatural horror almost entirely dominating the genre commercially. Weave in through the threads the now popular found-footage technique, and voila! You’ve got your horror to-do list movie just right.

The thing about horror, just like with other underutilized genre types in the stratosphere of commercial moviemaking, is that it’s about so much more than just a bunch of jump scares slotted through it all. Such works of art as the sci-fi film Under the Skin – which interestingly experimented with wild levels of body horror – and psychological horror The Babadook have effectively used extremely symbolic, subtext-driven screenwriting to cover vivid brushstrokes of meta-physicality, spiritual exploration, and the discovery of grief, echoing the powerful work of Polanski with his famed “Apartment” trilogy.

This is exactly why It Follows shows spectacular promise. Because, just like Polanski, or Jonathan Glazer of late – director of the aforementioned Scarlett Johansson starrer – David Robert Mitchell isn’t quite exactly known for his singular mastery over horror like his comparatively promising peers (Adam Wingard, James Wan et al) are. Having kickstarted his career with quite the acclaimed comedy-drama, one would most definitely, by default, expect Mitchell’s sophomore effort (if I may) to continue treading similar lines.

It, of course, doesn’t “follow” in that sense.

Oblivious to her future.

Oblivious to her future.

Mitchell continues to experiment with his wits in the creative stratosphere by including threads of genre stereotype, whilst simultaneously defying a thousand and one more. His writing shows extreme confidence, with each consecutive scene in the narrative playing out with focus and justification. Hovering around its conceited links to trust issues, dangerous discoveries and catastrophization, the movie effectively wraps around its superficially humorous McGuffin, turning it progressively from the absolute “bullshit” (as per one of its skeptical characters) it would normally sound like to the terrifying idea it ends up becoming, infesting gradually into the audiences’ hearts without physically displaying the hows and the whys.

The jump scares are but a few, to the extreme disappointment to mainstream horror fans, and yet their sparing inclusion justify themselves completely. Each scare point literally takes the film to dramatic highs, especially when – post impact – the scare turns out to be extremely real, and has a very high chance of dramatically destroying our protagonist. Moreover, our antagonist is, in all practicality, faceless; a shapeshifter, a mind-bender – always aggressively a step ahead. Fortunately, instead of turning our young adult bunch – the protagonist and her supporters – into dumb stereotypes, you’re provided a comparatively realistic outlook into their psyches; how they react, what makes them tick et al. Additionally, they’re far from dumb. Quick on their feet, they’re pretty much on the move with their next step. One of them, a callous reader, doesn’t pass her time with “literature” à la mode. What we see is an extremely chilled out spiritual explorer dissecting Fyodor “White Nights” Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, quoting lines all the while (obvious foreshadowing there), always asking questions on life and humanity – to herself; to the people around her. It’s clear Mitchell understands the overall young adult behavior on a rather general level, considering his debut venture clearly had protagonists of the same age bracket; possibly the only thread of similarity between the two films he’s done so far.

Of all the characters in the film, the biggest surprise would most definitely be our apparent “scream-queen” protagonist, Jay – played to the hilt by the impeccably cast Maika Monroe. Whilst obviously ticking most of the boxes of the damsel-in-distress female you’d find in tons of horror films, Monroe’s Jay has a very uncanny sense of direction. The interesting mélange of strength and vulnerability makes her an impressive character with more than a singular dimension to her.

It doesn't think...

It doesn’t think…

For all the immense praise (and some more) the film deserves, it does of course have its share of sticklers. The film’s finale opts for a rather heroic climactic treatment, which slightly contradicts the superb subtlety the rest of the film has. This is never a problem, mainly because it’s wrapped around with a superficially ambiguous end that is one of the most dazzling emotional high points – if not the single most – of the film. On the other hand, the striking cinematography, filled with its rather dynamic frames, is ever-so-slightly marred by the manual camera movement. While this does account for errors, the frame does feel jittery at times. This doesn’t exactly majorly spoil anything, but it’s definitely an ever-so-tiny stickler.

Thankfully, there’s so much more that more than makes up for them in so many different, dazzling ways. Mitchell, in collaboration with cinematographer Mike Gioulakis in his debut feature film project, and Julio Perez IV’s (Mitchell’s own The Myth of the American Sleepover) strikingly rhythmic edit, pushes for long-takes, supported by a gradual panoramic view of the place at times, if only to get the superficial atmosphere of the vicinity, ignorant of our protagonist and her rather unusual predicament. Enhanced only to an extremely chilling high with electronic composer/producer Disasterpeace’s fantastic retro-styled soundtrack – a greatest asset to the film – that rocks when the exact time justifies its presence, this film achieves what few mainstream horror films usually can: an extreme amount of discomfort, subtly creeping in on you, possessing you before you know it does.

To Perform or Not to Perform

IS ANYONE THERE?

IS ANYONE THERE?

The audience should most definitely sit up and take notice of Maika Monroe, an actress who’s definitely inching up on the abundance of promise we’re getting to see through her talent. Mixing fear, anger and resignation into one dangerously heady cocktail, she makes Jay a character Mitchell would definitely be proud to have written today. Far from the conventional “scream queen” bracket her role feels like a throwback at, Monroe handles a barrage of realistic emotional reflexes on an impressively dynamic level. Daniel Zovatto plays the mysterious adventurer with ease. Jake Weary is superb. Of the male characters, however, it is Keir Gilchrist who takes the cake as the awkward teenager, forever tied between the threads of love and lust on Jay. Olivia Luccardi’s Yara is confident, and Luccardi has a lot to contribute to her callous, introspective voice-of-reason. Lili Sepe is efficient. Bailey Spry has an effective short role that sets the ball in motion – a fairly brilliant emotional kick-starter, which she handles with panache.

Worth it?

The movie opens with a 360 degree long shot – an excellent move by the director, allowing us to be spectators to the subject’s unfathomable dilemma. We see an unknown fear gripping her, psychologically tormenting her. In its discomforting quiet, we begin to silently fear the unknown.

Boasting many more of such technical filmmaking ingenuity, and filled with master-class writing and superior performances, David Robert Mitchell’s second attempt at feature filmmaking screams resonant success, not just in the strata of horror cinema, but also as an art form with a voice – if only cleverly wrapped around the but superficial threads of teen angst and wonder.

If there’s only one horror film you’re going to watch all year, do most necessarily make sure it’s going to be the haunting, unforgettable It Follows. Unmissable, mandatory stuff.

Consensus: 4.5 Stars
Extraordinary!
About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Watch the trailer

We’re viral

Like UsFollow Us


Rated

R

Starring

Maika Monroe
Keir Gilchrist
Olivia Luccardi
Lili Sepe
Jake Weary
Daniel Zovatto

Written by

David Robert Mitchell

Directed by

David Robert Mitchell



What to Expect

For a human who’s forever appreciated staying as far away from horror as a film genre as humanely possible, it’s quite uncanny that It Follows would quite suddenly become a film I’d want to pine so desperately for. That its trailers did the trick for me completely is but one piece of the puzzle.

But you see, the other, rather bias-inducing reason would be Maika Monroe’s inclusion as a prime protagonist. Ever since her stints in The Bling Ring, and – particularly – The Guest not long after (let’s leave the rather cringe-inducing Labor Day out of the picture, shall we?), this was only going to be the right next step to take.

Skepticism, as always, does seem to land upon our rather puny, pretentious heads. With horror turning more into a business than a vocal form of expressionism that it began as in the cinematic art form, the audience is treated to a barrage of some rather uninspired excuses in the name of film. And with atrocious remakes (The Last House on the Left) and lazy franchise runners (Paranormal Activity) doing excellent business, one can’t exactly see why studios and producers would behave otherwise.

There are films that – once in a while – do remind us what horror as a genre can do ahead of the simple trick of littering a film with jump scares. The kind of horror that creeps onto you; pins you down and tears you apart, however, are rare, and – as is quite evident – hard to find. Should you be a fan of terrific cinema, you wouldn’t have to look too hard, for every once in a while there appears a silver lining.

Written and directed by David Robert Mitchell in his second film as an auteur since his debut comedy-drama The Myth of the American Sleepover, you’d almost think this is quite the unlikely figure in the genre. Here’s the very important thing, however: if James Gunn or James Wan can as effectively handle action-adventure as they do horror, why can’t Mitchell be successfully able to play out in reverse?

What’s it About?

It Follows chronicles the harrowing misadventures caused by a third-date-gone-wrong when Jay (Monroe) contracts an unusual curse following an intensely intimate encounter with a “new guy” she ends up fancying.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

"Look at me being all badass."

“Look at me being all badass.”

Horror is one of the few extremely dynamic genres in cinema that has, over time, been effectively divided into so many sub-genres – an act of clear versatility. Of late, however, the mainstream audience has been treated to but a very limited set of options, with slasher and supernatural horror almost entirely dominating the genre commercially. Weave in through the threads the now popular found-footage technique, and voila! You’ve got your horror to-do list movie just right.

The thing about horror, just like with other underutilized genre types in the stratosphere of commercial moviemaking, is that it’s about so much more than just a bunch of jump scares slotted through it all. Such works of art as the sci-fi film Under the Skin – which interestingly experimented with wild levels of body horror – and psychological horror The Babadook have effectively used extremely symbolic, subtext-driven screenwriting to cover vivid brushstrokes of meta-physicality, spiritual exploration, and the discovery of grief, echoing the powerful work of Polanski with his famed “Apartment” trilogy.

This is exactly why It Follows shows spectacular promise. Because, just like Polanski, or Jonathan Glazer of late – director of the aforementioned Scarlett Johansson starrer – David Robert Mitchell isn’t quite exactly known for his singular mastery over horror like his comparatively promising peers (Adam Wingard, James Wan et al) are. Having kickstarted his career with quite the acclaimed comedy-drama, one would most definitely, by default, expect Mitchell’s sophomore effort (if I may) to continue treading similar lines.

It, of course, doesn’t “follow” in that sense.

Oblivious to her future.

Oblivious to her future.

Mitchell continues to experiment with his wits in the creative stratosphere by including threads of genre stereotype, whilst simultaneously defying a thousand and one more. His writing shows extreme confidence, with each consecutive scene in the narrative playing out with focus and justification. Hovering around its conceited links to trust issues, dangerous discoveries and catastrophization, the movie effectively wraps around its superficially humorous McGuffin, turning it progressively from the absolute “bullshit” (as per one of its skeptical characters) it would normally sound like to the terrifying idea it ends up becoming, infesting gradually into the audiences’ hearts without physically displaying the hows and the whys.

The jump scares are but a few, to the extreme disappointment to mainstream horror fans, and yet their sparing inclusion justify themselves completely. Each scare point literally takes the film to dramatic highs, especially when – post impact – the scare turns out to be extremely real, and has a very high chance of dramatically destroying our protagonist. Moreover, our antagonist is, in all practicality, faceless; a shapeshifter, a mind-bender – always aggressively a step ahead. Fortunately, instead of turning our young adult bunch – the protagonist and her supporters – into dumb stereotypes, you’re provided a comparatively realistic outlook into their psyches; how they react, what makes them tick et al. Additionally, they’re far from dumb. Quick on their feet, they’re pretty much on the move with their next step. One of them, a callous reader, doesn’t pass her time with “literature” à la mode. What we see is an extremely chilled out spiritual explorer dissecting Fyodor “White Nights” Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, quoting lines all the while (obvious foreshadowing there), always asking questions on life and humanity – to herself; to the people around her. It’s clear Mitchell understands the overall young adult behavior on a rather general level, considering his debut venture clearly had protagonists of the same age bracket; possibly the only thread of similarity between the two films he’s done so far.

Of all the characters in the film, the biggest surprise would most definitely be our apparent “scream-queen” protagonist, Jay – played to the hilt by the impeccably cast Maika Monroe. Whilst obviously ticking most of the boxes of the damsel-in-distress female you’d find in tons of horror films, Monroe’s Jay has a very uncanny sense of direction. The interesting mélange of strength and vulnerability makes her an impressive character with more than a singular dimension to her.

It doesn't think...

It doesn’t think…

For all the immense praise (and some more) the film deserves, it does of course have its share of sticklers. The film’s finale opts for a rather heroic climactic treatment, which slightly contradicts the superb subtlety the rest of the film has. This is never a problem, mainly because it’s wrapped around with a superficially ambiguous end that is one of the most dazzling emotional high points – if not the single most – of the film. On the other hand, the striking cinematography, filled with its rather dynamic frames, is ever-so-slightly marred by the manual camera movement. While this does account for errors, the frame does feel jittery at times. This doesn’t exactly majorly spoil anything, but it’s definitely an ever-so-tiny stickler.

Thankfully, there’s so much more that more than makes up for them in so many different, dazzling ways. Mitchell, in collaboration with cinematographer Mike Gioulakis in his debut feature film project, and Julio Perez IV’s (Mitchell’s own The Myth of the American Sleepover) strikingly rhythmic edit, pushes for long-takes, supported by a gradual panoramic view of the place at times, if only to get the superficial atmosphere of the vicinity, ignorant of our protagonist and her rather unusual predicament. Enhanced only to an extremely chilling high with electronic composer/producer Disasterpeace’s fantastic retro-styled soundtrack – a greatest asset to the film – that rocks when the exact time justifies its presence, this film achieves what few mainstream horror films usually can: an extreme amount of discomfort, subtly creeping in on you, possessing you before you know it does.

To Perform or Not to Perform

IS ANYONE THERE?

IS ANYONE THERE?

The audience should most definitely sit up and take notice of Maika Monroe, an actress who’s definitely inching up on the abundance of promise we’re getting to see through her talent. Mixing fear, anger and resignation into one dangerously heady cocktail, she makes Jay a character Mitchell would definitely be proud to have written today. Far from the conventional “scream queen” bracket her role feels like a throwback at, Monroe handles a barrage of realistic emotional reflexes on an impressively dynamic level. Daniel Zovatto plays the mysterious adventurer with ease. Jake Weary is superb. Of the male characters, however, it is Keir Gilchrist who takes the cake as the awkward teenager, forever tied between the threads of love and lust on Jay. Olivia Luccardi’s Yara is confident, and Luccardi has a lot to contribute to her callous, introspective voice-of-reason. Lili Sepe is efficient. Bailey Spry has an effective short role that sets the ball in motion – a fairly brilliant emotional kick-starter, which she handles with panache.

Worth it?

The movie opens with a 360 degree long shot – an excellent move by the director, allowing us to be spectators to the subject’s unfathomable dilemma. We see an unknown fear gripping her, psychologically tormenting her. In its discomforting quiet, we begin to silently fear the unknown.

Boasting many more of such technical filmmaking ingenuity, and filled with master-class writing and superior performances, David Robert Mitchell’s second attempt at feature filmmaking screams resonant success, not just in the strata of horror cinema, but also as an art form with a voice – if only cleverly wrapped around the but superficial threads of teen angst and wonder.

If there’s only one horror film you’re going to watch all year, do most necessarily make sure it’s going to be the haunting, unforgettable It Follows. Unmissable, mandatory stuff.

Consensus: 4.5 Stars
Extraordinary
About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Watch the trailer

We’re viral

Like UsFollow Us

Cast Maika Monroe
Keir Gilchrist
Olivia Luccardi
Director David Robert Mitchell
Consensus: 4.5 Stars
Extraordinary!

What to Expect

Woooooo caaaaaar!

Woooooo caaaaaar!

For a human who’s forever appreciated staying as far away from horror as a film genre as humanely possible, it’s quite uncanny that It Follows would quite suddenly become a film I’d want to pine so desperately for. That its trailers did the trick for me completely is but one piece of the puzzle.

But you see, the other, rather bias-inducing reason would be Maika Monroe’s inclusion as a prime protagonist. Ever since her stints in The Bling Ring, and – particularly – The Guest not long after (let’s leave the rather cringe-inducing Labor Day out of the picture, shall we?), this was only going to be the right next step to take.

Skepticism, as always, does seem to land upon our rather puny, pretentious heads. With horror turning more into a business than a vocal form of expressionism that it began as in the cinematic art form, the audience is treated to a barrage of some rather uninspired excuses in the name of film. And with atrocious remakes (The Last House on the Left) and lazy franchise runners (Paranormal Activity) doing excellent business, one can’t exactly see why studios and producers would behave otherwise.

There are films that – once in a while – do remind us what horror as a genre can do ahead of the simple trick of littering a film with jump scares. The kind of horror that creeps onto you; pins you down and tears you apart, however, are rare, and – as is quite evident – hard to find. Should you be a fan of terrific cinema, you wouldn’t have to look too hard, for every once in a while there appears a silver lining.

Written and directed by David Robert Mitchell in his second film as an auteur since his debut comedy-drama The Myth of the American Sleepover, you’d almost think this is quite the unlikely figure in the genre. Here’s the very important thing, however: if James Gunn or James Wan can as effectively handle action-adventure as they do horror, why can’t Mitchell be successfully able to play out in reverse?

What’s it About?

It Follows chronicles the harrowing misadventures caused by a third-date-gone-wrong when Jay (Monroe) contracts an unusual curse following an intensely intimate encounter with a “new guy” she ends up fancying.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

"Look at me being all badass."

“Look at me being all badass.”

Horror is one of the few extremely dynamic genres in cinema that has, over time, been effectively divided into so many sub-genres – an act of clear versatility. Of late, however, the mainstream audience has been treated to but a very limited set of options, with slasher and supernatural horror almost entirely dominating the genre commercially. Weave in through the threads the now popular found-footage technique, and voila! You’ve got your horror to-do list movie just right.

The thing about horror, just like with other underutilized genre types in the stratosphere of commercial moviemaking, is that it’s about so much more than just a bunch of jump scares slotted through it all. Such works of art as the sci-fi film Under the Skin – which interestingly experimented with wild levels of body horror – and psychological horror The Babadook have effectively used extremely symbolic, subtext-driven screenwriting to cover vivid brushstrokes of meta-physicality, spiritual exploration, and the discovery of grief, echoing the powerful work of Polanski with his famed “Apartment” trilogy.

This is exactly why It Follows shows spectacular promise. Because, just like Polanski, or Jonathan Glazer of late – director of the aforementioned Scarlett Johansson starrer – David Robert Mitchell isn’t quite exactly known for his singular mastery over horror like his comparatively promising peers (Adam Wingard, James Wan et al) are. Having kickstarted his career with quite the acclaimed comedy-drama, one would most definitely, by default, expect Mitchell’s sophomore effort (if I may) to continue treading similar lines.

It, of course, doesn’t “follow” in that sense.

Oblivious to her future.

Oblivious to her future.

Mitchell continues to experiment with his wits in the creative stratosphere by including threads of genre stereotype, whilst simultaneously defying a thousand and one more. His writing shows extreme confidence, with each consecutive scene in the narrative playing out with focus and justification. Hovering around its conceited links to trust issues, dangerous discoveries and catastrophization, the movie effectively wraps around its superficially humorous McGuffin, turning it progressively from the absolute “bullshit” (as per one of its skeptical characters) it would normally sound like to the terrifying idea it ends up becoming, infesting gradually into the audiences’ hearts without physically displaying the hows and the whys.

The jump scares are but a few, to the extreme disappointment to mainstream horror fans, and yet their sparing inclusion justify themselves completely. Each scare point literally takes the film to dramatic highs, especially when – post impact – the scare turns out to be extremely real, and has a very high chance of dramatically destroying our protagonist. Moreover, our antagonist is, in all practicality, faceless; a shapeshifter, a mind-bender – always aggressively a step ahead. Fortunately, instead of turning our young adult bunch – the protagonist and her supporters – into dumb stereotypes, you’re provided a comparatively realistic outlook into their psyches; how they react, what makes them tick et al. Additionally, they’re far from dumb. Quick on their feet, they’re pretty much on the move with their next step. One of them, a callous reader, doesn’t pass her time with “literature” à la mode. What we see is an extremely chilled out spiritual explorer dissecting Fyodor “White Nights” Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, quoting lines all the while (obvious foreshadowing there), always asking questions on life and humanity – to herself; to the people around her. It’s clear Mitchell understands the overall young adult behavior on a rather general level, considering his debut venture clearly had protagonists of the same age bracket; possibly the only thread of similarity between the two films he’s done so far.

Of all the characters in the film, the biggest surprise would most definitely be our apparent “scream-queen” protagonist, Jay – played to the hilt by the impeccably cast Maika Monroe. Whilst obviously ticking most of the boxes of the damsel-in-distress female you’d find in tons of horror films, Monroe’s Jay has a very uncanny sense of direction. The interesting mélange of strength and vulnerability makes her an impressive character with more than a singular dimension to her.

It doesn't think...

It doesn’t think…

For all the immense praise (and some more) the film deserves, it does of course have its share of sticklers. The film’s finale opts for a rather heroic climactic treatment, which slightly contradicts the superb subtlety the rest of the film has. This is never a problem, mainly because it’s wrapped around with a superficially ambiguous end that is one of the most dazzling emotional high points – if not the single most – of the film. On the other hand, the striking cinematography, filled with its rather dynamic frames, is ever-so-slightly marred by the manual camera movement. While this does account for errors, the frame does feel jittery at times. This doesn’t exactly majorly spoil anything, but it’s definitely an ever-so-tiny stickler.

Thankfully, there’s so much more that more than makes up for them in so many different, dazzling ways. Mitchell, in collaboration with cinematographer Mike Gioulakis in his debut feature film project, and Julio Perez IV’s (Mitchell’s own The Myth of the American Sleepover) strikingly rhythmic edit, pushes for long-takes, supported by a gradual panoramic view of the place at times, if only to get the superficial atmosphere of the vicinity, ignorant of our protagonist and her rather unusual predicament. Enhanced only to an extremely chilling high with electronic composer/producer Disasterpeace’s fantastic retro-styled soundtrack – a greatest asset to the film – that rocks when the exact time justifies its presence, this film achieves what few mainstream horror films usually can: an extreme amount of discomfort, subtly creeping in on you, possessing you before you know it does.

To Perform or Not to Perform

IS ANYONE THERE?

IS ANYONE THERE?

The audience should most definitely sit up and take notice of Maika Monroe, an actress who’s definitely inching up on the abundance of promise we’re getting to see through her talent. Mixing fear, anger and resignation into one dangerously heady cocktail, she makes Jay a character Mitchell would definitely be proud to have written today. Far from the conventional “scream queen” bracket her role feels like a throwback at, Monroe handles a barrage of realistic emotional reflexes on an impressively dynamic level. Daniel Zovatto plays the mysterious adventurer with ease. Jake Weary is superb. Of the male characters, however, it is Keir Gilchrist who takes the cake as the awkward teenager, forever tied between the threads of love and lust on Jay. Olivia Luccardi’s Yara is confident, and Luccardi has a lot to contribute to her callous, introspective voice-of-reason. Lili Sepe is efficient. Bailey Spry has an effective short role that sets the ball in motion – a fairly brilliant emotional kick-starter, which she handles with panache.

Worth it?

The movie opens with a 360 degree long shot – an excellent move by the director, allowing us to be spectators to the subject’s unfathomable dilemma. We see an unknown fear gripping her, psychologically tormenting her. In its discomforting quiet, we begin to silently fear the unknown.

Boasting many more of such technical filmmaking ingenuity, and filled with master-class writing and superior performances, David Robert Mitchell’s second attempt at feature filmmaking screams resonant success, not just in the strata of horror cinema, but also as an art form with a voice – if only cleverly wrapped around the but superficial threads of teen angst and wonder.

If there’s only one horror film you’re going to watch all year, do most necessarily make sure it’s going to be the haunting, unforgettable It Follows. Unmissable, mandatory stuff.

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

We’re viral

Like usFollow us
Cast Maika Monroe
Keir Gilchrist
Olivia Luccardi
Director David Robert Mitchell
Consensus: 4.5 Stars
Extraordinary!

What to Expect

For a human who’s forever appreciated staying as far away from horror as a film genre as humanely possible, it’s quite uncanny that It Follows would quite suddenly become a film I’d want to pine so desperately for. That its trailers did the trick for me completely is but one piece of the puzzle.

But you see, the other, rather bias-inducing reason would be Maika Monroe’s inclusion as a prime protagonist. Ever since her stints in The Bling Ring, and – particularly – The Guest not long after (let’s leave the rather cringe-inducing Labor Day out of the picture, shall we?), this was only going to be the right next step to take.

Skepticism, as always, does seem to land upon our rather puny, pretentious heads. With horror turning more into a business than a vocal form of expressionism that it began as in the cinematic art form, the audience is treated to a barrage of some rather uninspired excuses in the name of film. And with atrocious remakes (The Last House on the Left) and lazy franchise runners (Paranormal Activity) doing excellent business, one can’t exactly see why studios and producers would behave otherwise.

There are films that – once in a while – do remind us what horror as a genre can do ahead of the simple trick of littering a film with jump scares. The kind of horror that creeps onto you; pins you down and tears you apart, however, are rare, and – as is quite evident – hard to find. Should you be a fan of terrific cinema, you wouldn’t have to look too hard, for every once in a while there appears a silver lining.

Written and directed by David Robert Mitchell in his second film as an auteur since his debut comedy-drama The Myth of the American Sleepover, you’d almost think this is quite the unlikely figure in the genre. Here’s the very important thing, however: if James Gunn or James Wan can as effectively handle action-adventure as they do horror, why can’t Mitchell be successfully able to play out in reverse?

What’s it About?

It Follows chronicles the harrowing misadventures caused by a third-date-gone-wrong when Jay (Monroe) contracts an unusual curse following an intensely intimate encounter with a “new guy” she ends up fancying.

Look at me being all badass!

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Horror is one of the few extremely dynamic genres in cinema that has, over time, been effectively divided into so many sub-genres – an act of clear versatility. Of late, however, the mainstream audience has been treated to but a very limited set of options, with slasher and supernatural horror almost entirely dominating the genre commercially. Weave in through the threads the now popular found-footage technique, and voila! You’ve got your horror to-do list movie just right.

The thing about horror, just like with other underutilized genre types in the stratosphere of commercial moviemaking, is that it’s about so much more than just a bunch of jump scares slotted through it all. Such works of art as the sci-fi film Under the Skin – which interestingly experimented with wild levels of body horror – and psychological horror The Babadook have effectively used extremely symbolic, subtext-driven screenwriting to cover vivid brushstrokes of meta-physicality, spiritual exploration, and the discovery of grief, echoing the powerful work of Polanski with his famed “Apartment” trilogy.

This is exactly why It Follows shows spectacular promise. Because, just like Polanski, or Jonathan Glazer of late – director of the aforementioned Scarlett Johansson starrer – David Robert Mitchell isn’t quite exactly known for his singular mastery over horror like his comparatively promising peers (Adam Wingard, James Wan et al) are. Having kickstarted his career with quite the acclaimed comedy-drama, one would most definitely, by default, expect Mitchell’s sophomore effort (if I may) to continue treading similar lines.

It, of course, doesn’t “follow” in that sense.

Oblivious to her future

Mitchell continues to experiment with his wits in the creative stratosphere by including threads of genre stereotype, whilst simultaneously defying a thousand and one more. His writing shows extreme confidence, with each consecutive scene in the narrative playing out with focus and justification. Hovering around its conceited links to trust issues, dangerous discoveries and catastrophization, the movie effectively wraps around its superficially humorous McGuffin, turning it progressively from the absolute “bullshit” (as per one of its skeptical characters) it would normally sound like to the terrifying idea it ends up becoming, infesting gradually into the audiences’ hearts without physically displaying the hows and the whys.

The jump scares are but a few, to the extreme disappointment to mainstream horror fans, and yet their sparing inclusion justify themselves completely. Each scare point literally takes the film to dramatic highs, especially when – post impact – the scare turns out to be extremely real, and has a very high chance of dramatically destroying our protagonist. Moreover, our antagonist is, in all practicality, faceless; a shapeshifter, a mind-bender – always aggressively a step ahead. Fortunately, instead of turning our young adult bunch – the protagonist and her supporters – into dumb stereotypes, you’re provided a comparatively realistic outlook into their psyches; how they react, what makes them tick et al. Additionally, they’re far from dumb. Quick on their feet, they’re pretty much on the move with their next step. One of them, a callous reader, doesn’t pass her time with “literature” à la mode. What we see is an extremely chilled out spiritual explorer dissecting Fyodor “White Nights” Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, quoting lines all the while (obvious foreshadowing there), always asking questions on life and humanity – to herself; to the people around her. It’s clear Mitchell understands the overall young adult behavior on a rather general level, considering his debut venture clearly had protagonists of the same age bracket; possibly the only thread of similarity between the two films he’s done so far.

Of all the characters in the film, the biggest surprise would most definitely be our apparent “scream-queen” protagonist, Jay – played to the hilt by the impeccably cast Maika Monroe. Whilst obviously ticking most of the boxes of the damsel-in-distress female you’d find in tons of horror films, Monroe’s Jay has a very uncanny sense of direction. The interesting mélange of strength and vulnerability makes her an impressive character with more than a singular dimension to her.

It doesn't think

For all the immense praise (and some more) the film deserves, it does of course have its share of sticklers. The film’s finale opts for a rather heroic climactic treatment, which slightly contradicts the superb subtlety the rest of the film has. This is never a problem, mainly because it’s wrapped around with a superficially ambiguous end that is one of the most dazzling emotional high points – if not the single most – of the film. On the other hand, the striking cinematography, filled with its rather dynamic frames, is ever-so-slightly marred by the manual camera movement. While this does account for errors, the frame does feel jittery at times. This doesn’t exactly majorly spoil anything, but it’s definitely an ever-so-tiny stickler.

Thankfully, there’s so much more that more than makes up for them in so many different, dazzling ways. Mitchell, in collaboration with cinematographer Mike Gioulakis in his debut feature film project, and Julio Perez IV’s (Mitchell’s own The Myth of the American Sleepover) strikingly rhythmic edit, pushes for long-takes, supported by a gradual panoramic view of the place at times, if only to get the superficial atmosphere of the vicinity, ignorant of our protagonist and her rather unusual predicament. Enhanced only to an extremely chilling high with electronic composer/producer Disasterpeace’s fantastic retro-styled soundtrack – a greatest asset to the film – that rocks when the exact time justifies its presence, this film achieves what few mainstream horror films usually can: an extreme amount of discomfort, subtly creeping in on you, possessing you before you know it does.

Is anyone there?

To Perform or Not to Perform

The audience should most definitely sit up and take notice of Maika Monroe, an actress who’s definitely inching up on the abundance of promise we’re getting to see through her talent. Mixing fear, anger and resignation into one dangerously heady cocktail, she makes Jay a character Mitchell would definitely be proud to have written today. Far from the conventional “scream queen” bracket her role feels like a throwback at, Monroe handles a barrage of realistic emotional reflexes on an impressively dynamic level. Daniel Zovatto plays the mysterious adventurer with ease. Jake Weary is superb. Of the male characters, however, it is Keir Gilchrist who takes the cake as the awkward teenager, forever tied between the threads of love and lust on Jay. Olivia Luccardi’s Yara is confident, and Luccardi has a lot to contribute to her callous, introspective voice-of-reason. Lili Sepe is efficient. Bailey Spry has an effective short role that sets the ball in motion – a fairly brilliant emotional kick-starter, which she handles with panache.

Worth it?

The movie opens with a 360 degree long shot – an excellent move by the director, allowing us to be spectators to the subject’s unfathomable dilemma. We see an unknown fear gripping her, psychologically tormenting her. In its discomforting quiet, we begin to silently fear the unknown.

Boasting many more of such technical filmmaking ingenuity, and filled with master-class writing and superior performances, David Robert Mitchell’s second attempt at feature filmmaking screams resonant success, not just in the strata of horror cinema, but also as an art form with a voice – if only cleverly wrapped around the but superficial threads of teen angst and wonder.

If there’s only one horror film you’re going to watch all year, do most necessarily make sure it’s going to be the haunting, unforgettable It Follows. Unmissable, mandatory stuff.

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

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Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

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