It Follows  (2014)

I tend to be a bit behind the times when it comes to horror movies. I wasn't a big fan when I was younger, so now I find myself playing catch up with some of the classics before I get to the more modern ones. "It Follows" had been on my list for a while, and I finally got the chance to watch it; it's another example of one I wish I had gotten to sooner.

It's a beautifully simple premise: our protagonist is being followed. It's unclear what is following them, why they are being followed, or how anything started. The rules are laid out early on, but there really isn't a mystery to solve, there's no concept of a spirit wandering the earth until their soul can find peace, there's no twist - it's just a relentless chase scene, an unwavering predator locked in on prey.

The cast is strong. They were mostly (at least to me) unknown, which always helps suspend my disbelief. I don't have to think "hey, that's the chick from whatever TV show running from a demon", instead my mind can just accept this girl is really being chased. Maika Monroe is a great teen scream queen, and her small circle of friends support her well. Keir Gilchrist is perfect as the life-long friend who harbors feelings for her, and Daniel Zovatto fits as the bad-boy-next-door. The only misfire was Jake Weary as the guy who brings the monster; I was never sure if we were supposed to hate him or feel sympathy. His face is punchable, and his actions are reprehensible, but I feel like once we learn some back story we're supposed to feel a little bad.

The movie really succeeds with ambience. It felt like an 80s movie (a throwback vibe similar to "Stranger Things") but there were certain parts that modernize it beyond that era. I read a few behind-the-scenes things that revealed the creators made it intentionally vague. The soundtrack was definitely 80s-influenced, with a lot of electronic synth droning. The key to the evil spirit is also that it just follows. It doesn't chase, it doesn't hide and pop out - it just persistently pursues. There's something more dreadful about an enemy that comes in that way. There's no frantic rush, just unending anxiety.

I've never been a fan of gory slasher horror, I've always preferred slow-burns, psychological horror, stuff that is more creepy than reliant on jump-scares. "It Follows" definitely succeeds with the slow, relentless, overwhelming dread.

[Celluloid Hero] gives "It Follows" a 7 out of 10.

 

 

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