Film Review – It Follows (2014)

It Follows movie

Maika Monroe emits vulnerability but remains an emotional anchor in It Follows

It Follows

Directed by David Robert Mitchell

Starring Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi

Review by Jordan

It Follows knows what scares us. It will burrow beneath your skin and remain there for days, sending shivers up your spine when the darkness descends or an eerie quiet creeps in. Utilizing old-school American sensibilities established in John Carpenter’s Halloween and pairing them with contemporary Disasterpeace audio cues and the haunting imagery of a decaying Detroit, it’s easy the scariest horror film in a long time and arguably the best since Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs in 2008.

It follows nothing, but rather sets a high new bar for all contemporary supernatural horror films to follow.

Cleverly simple, the story follows attractive and slightly whimsical teenager Jay (Maika Monroe), who finds the shadows closing in and faces the cold stare of death after a traumatizing encounter with her short-term boyfriend, and recruits the help of her friends to either lift, or at least move on the horrendous curse that has befallen her. A curse that brings with it terror that shoots straight for the heart, and threatens to also emotionally tear her relationships with those closest to her apart.

I entered the cinema knowing nothing of David Robert Mitchell‘s film other than its reputation, which I soon realized to be a rewarding decision once a maniacal, mysterious opening hits a brutal crescendo and makes way for a nightmarish atmosphere centered on an immediately likable heroine. It wasn’t important here to know which direction the plot was going to take, nor even what it was, but rather that the created world was worthy of a suspension of disbelief and an open mind, which it surely is.

As it’s heroine, Monroe excels; her Jay is vulnerable yet intelligent, capable of many poor decisions yet always likable and her peers embody these same traits. These teenagers actually feel like teenagers, purposely subduing their familial angst and ignoring the issues of life, giving It Follows a level of authenticity not often reached in this genre.

There is a drawing power here not only in moments of heightened suspense, but in the quiet ones, whether it be the ripples of water forming around Jay in her above ground pool, blades of grass resting precariously on her leg or her casual flirting with childhood crush Paul; elements which show the fragility of humankind and the natural world around us. Water is used as a recurring theme throughout, perhaps being used as an attempt to wash away a growing uncleanliness, before it’s revealed that blood is truly the thicker of the two.

It Follows knows what scares us. Truly scares us. And it exploits this knowledge masterfully.

4.5 smashed windows out of 5

It-Follows-poster

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28 responses to “Film Review – It Follows (2014)

  1. Great review! It’s a truly chilling film and incredibly haunting. Seeing this and the babadook really reignites hope that the horror genre can continue to develop.

    • Thanks mate, glad you agree! The genre boasts some of the most creative new talent in the business, although I must admit I didn’t love The Babadook…
      Jordan

  2. I realized that half the fun of this movie was how the Monster/Demon hides in plain sight. It could be anyone, as they say. You only recognize it once it gets close, that steady pace coming straight for you, and a face devoid of emotion.

    My date and I were constantly going: “Ah, there it is!” “There it is again!” “Shit, is that it???” “Look, it’s over there!”
    Oodles and oodles of fun…

    • Ha that’s such a good point. It’s very impressive for a new horror film to create a new lore or legend but this does it so well.. this particular monster is so simple but just so scary!
      Jordan

    • Cheers Mark. Always good to hear from you.
      Nothing much I like more than being scared senseless at the cinema and this accomplished that wonderfully.
      Jordan

  3. Going in knowing nothing is the best way to experience a film like this. Very moody and paced effectively. The young lead was very sympathetic and the concept is every thing.

  4. Well, up until now I just wanted to see this one whenever. Now, I can’t wait! I’ve been watching some quite bad movies lately… I could use a change! haha
    Great stuff as always Jordan! I’m wondering if we’ll get to see It Follows 2,3,4, etc. in the future…it appears to be such a big trend!

    • Oh boy pressure is on now, but I’m confident you’ll like it as much as I did! And if not you better explain yourself in your review ha.
      It actually does have a villain/lore perfect for sequels, but I still hope it doesn’t venture down that path..
      Jordan

  5. Reblogged this on eat.watch.read and commented:
    I love how these guys review movies. And I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    For all who saw this movie, did anyone else wonder if It follows was maybe funded by some organisation in America that promotes abstinence…? Ha ha ha!

    I also really liked how it puts a twist on the horror convention of the virgins being the ones to survive.

    • Liked that too! It really hearkened back to Halloween and the other American ’70’s slashers which I loved while adding a contemporary tone of its own.
      Jordan

  6. As a true horror lover, this one was such a delightful surprise. Nothing creeps me out more than that feeling of being followed, and this was such a unique approach. I’d absolutely see it again!

  7. Reblogged this on Smitty Rooks and commented:
    Horror IS BAE! I love horror movies & the horror genre, as much as I love comedy! Laughter and Fear both release Dopamine, and both can be pleasurable (for different reasons) and man being scared shix-less is a true rush (if you’re into that sorta thing & can handle it 😛 )

  8. (SPOILERS for readers…) Something I noticed before, but now after watching it at home seemed super-duper obvious —- did you notice that the nerdy kid, played by Keir Gilchrist, looks an awful lot like a younger David Robert Mitchell? And in most every scene he’s practically seething with (harmless) sexual jealousy of Maika Monroe’s dates, including and especially Greg (Daniel Zavatto) whom she sleeps with to pass on the curse? Even after Greg bites it, he’s still like, “Why didn’t you have sex with me? I’m man enough!”
    Somebody, somewhere, is a hot blonde who DRM really had a huge crush on….

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