It Follows (David Robert Mitchell, 2015)

Following a sexual liaison, one Jay (Maika Monroe) is promptly chloroformed and strapped to a wheelchair by a current flame. Dazed, confused and helpless, she’s informed of her predicament, of which involves a murderous shape-shifting entity procured and passed on via intercourse. Given the singularity of the matter, Jay becomes increasingly desperate and paranoid at the insistence of the enigma that finds her next in this supposed line of those who share her affliction.

It Follows is largely a case of concept trumping a finished product. While an undeniably modest triumph given the sad state of a flailing genre, the film stretches its ambiguity shtick thin early on and frequently. An alternately effective and oppressive Carpenter-esque aesthetic drums up dread well enough, yet the slow burns present throughout don’t wholly succeed in building to their respective payoffs.

In calling attention to the expository introduction of the titular “It” by “Hugh,” it’s implied that the forms this monster assumes tend to pander to the life of the individual it’s tormenting. Details like this insist on increased viewer involvement but flounder given how genuinely offbeat It Follows is and remains as Jay struggles to persevere with the help of her sister and friends. Even as the absence of adult presence becomes increasingly noteworthy, it remains not so much a flaw as it is a testament to Mitchell’s commitment to concept and hit-or-miss execution amid a palpably character-driven focus.

Collectively speaking, It Follows is a solid if entirely too self-assured horror film. Opting for basal originality and sustained dread over what we’ve come to expect from contemporary dross, the film’s fortitude in exploring its viscerally-elevated territory does more to intrigue than terrify as Jay’s desperate step-and-repeat routine becomes tiresome. It Follows‘ obvious departure from genre contemporaries’ copycat complacency makes it worthy of your time regardless thanks to its persistent nuance, just be sure to curb your frustration come an agreeably silly conclusion.


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