Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It Follows - And It WILL Find You!

It Follows
D: David Robert Mitchell
W: David Robert Mitchell
S: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi
Rated R - Approx 100 Minutes
Northern Lights Films/Animal Kingdom

It doesn't think. It doesn't feel. It doesn't give up.

Alternate Titles
Brazil     Corrente do Mal (Current Evil)
Canada  Traquée (Hunted)
Croatia     To dolazi  (It Comes)
Poland     Cos za mna chodzi (As For Me With)
Russia     Оно следует за тобой (It Follows You)
Turkey     Pesimdeki Seytan (Devil On My Pesia)

 "It could look like someone you know or it could be a stranger in a crowd. Whatever helps it get close to you."

There has been a lot of positive buzz surrounding this film.  I first heard about it on Killer POV

and was immediately intrigued.  Then the reviews started to roll in.  Currently, It Follows has a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes while it carries a score of 83 on MetaCritic.  The film is being hailed as one of the most original and most terrifying films to come along in years.  It's been called a return to 80's horror.  Naturally a horror film garnering this much buzz is cause for me to sit up and take notice.

So it's safe to say that I had some pretty high hopes when I went to the theater today to see what all the hubbub was about.  I caught a matinee showing today (okay....well technically yesterday at this point) and the conditions were perfect.  The theater was completely barren.  I mean we're talking GHOST TOWN here.  Besides the dude at the ticket booth and the popcorn girl, I saw not another living soul during my trip to the cinema.  Everything had a whole Carnival of Souls kinda vibe to it.  Perfect mood for a creep-fest.

Huh.  Kinda quiet here at Showcase Cinemas.....
No one seems to be around.....
Not even at the concession stand.  That's kinda ominous.....
Well, at least no one will be talking through the movie!

And that is exactly what I got!  I'm happy to report that It Follows is every bit as good as the reviews have said.  It's incredibly atmospheric, it takes the standard stalk and slash trope and gives it an interesting spin and it has hands down probably the BEST score I've heard in a long, long time.  Before I get too far ahead of myself let's get a bit of a plot synopsis out there.  Be warned....there will be some SLIGHT SPOILERS ahead.  Nothing that will spoil your enjoyment of the film, but if you're looking to go into this fresh without any knowledge of the film, then stop now and come back after you've seen it.

What a romantic date location!

Okay, so what we've got here is a mash-up between a stalker film and a paranormal curse film.  Actually, the absolute best way to describe this film is as being about a paranormal chian-letter STD.  Allow me to explain.  A young girl named Jay is dating a fellow named Hugh.  Things are getting more with Hugh even though he occasionally acts strange.  Finally one night Jay has sex with Hugh in his car in a parking lot near an abandoned, crumbling building.  Sexy, right?  After showing their affection for each other in the most intimate of ways, Hugh exits the vehicle and goes rooting around in the trunk and Jay talks about her childhood dreams of being older.  Hugh then proceeds to knock her out with chloroform and ties her to a wheel chair (still in her bright pink underwear) and wheels her into the building.  He's such a romantic.

When Jay wakes up, Hugh informs her that he's passed something on to her.  He tells here that something is going to start following her and that the only thing that she can do to stop it is to pass it along to someone else, just as he did.  This thing never stops, it just constantly walks toward you at a slow pace.  No matter where you go or what you do, it simply follows you....walking in a straight line at you.  It can appear as anybody.  Sometimes it will appear as a loved one to try and trick you.  

"It" makes one of "It's" first appearances.

Hugh then drops Jay off at her house....or more specifically, opens the door of his car and drops her on the road in front of her house.  Such a gentleman.  Anywhoo....we're off to the races so to speak as this thing begins to stalk her.  Oh right....I should also mention that the only people that can see this thing are the people being hunted by it....and anyone who has been hunted by it and passed it along.

Some people have accused the movie of being repetitive and they're correct.  It IS repetitive.  The film follows a formula:  It appears.  Jay and friends run.  It Follows (see what I did there?).  It appears.  Jay and friends run.  It Follows (I did it again!).  While some people take this and view it as a negative, this is where a good amount of tension comes from.  You KNOW that goddamned thing is coming at here every second of the film.  No matter how far she runs, it's making a bee line straight for her and there's NO way to stop it.  To me that's a terrifying concept.  

That's not to say that there aren't a few things about the film that caused a few problems for me.  Believe it or not, my biggest issue was the fact that you questioned what time of year the film was taking place.  I thought at first that it was supposed to be late summer as when we first meet Jay she's in a swimming pool at her house.  Then you notice that the leaves are changing color.  Okay, so it's fall and it's still warm enough to take a dip.  Far enough.  Then in the next scene, Jay and her sister Kelly are wearing sweatshirts and sweaters and it looks like it may be late October.  Then a bit later on it looks like it may be November and there are barely any leaves on the trees.  But then a bit later, there are leaves again....and even some trees that look mostly green.  While that sounds like a fairly minor's just enough to pull you out of the film a bit and have you scratching your head a bit.
It is relentless. 

The score by Rich Vreeland (aka Disasterpeace) is absolutely amazing.  So much so that I immediately bought the soundtrack when I left the theater.  I literally sat in my car and purchased the soundtrack on Google Play so I could listen to it as I drove away.  Yes, it's that good.  It perfectly encapsulates the pervasive dread that drips through every frame, while also managing to call to mind the likes of John Carpenter and John Harrison, with it's synth heavy melodies back by an undercurrent industrial vibe.  I listen and you'll be hooked.  I haven't been THIS in love with a soundtrack in a long, long time.

Is this It's house?  No, don't be silly.  Creepy though, ain't it?

While I wouldn't say that this is a gore heavy movie, it does have some good gooey moments. 

There is some flesh on display here, but usually not the type you want to see.  Our heroine can be found in various stages of undress (bathing suits and of course her bright pink bra and panties) but we never see her or any of her friends nude.  The thing (or It....if you prefer) shows up sometimes as different naked women.  Not the sexy variety though. 

Just one.  The titular IT.  One of the things I really loved about the film is the fact that they never try to explain It.  There's no bullshit sequence where they hit the library to uncover the dark secrets behind It.  It simply is.  And to me that is infinitely more terrifying.  Who the fuck cares WHAT It is!??!?  It is coming for you and it's gonna fuck up your day!

If you can get out to a theater to see this film, do so immediately.  If you are looking for a solid horror flick with a constant doom laden sense of pervasive dread, look no further.  This is one of those films that holds the viewer in it's warped twilight world from the opening frame.  While there may be a few smiles here or there, there is no levity.  After I got out of the theater, I started to look at the random people that populate the world in a different way.  What if?  You'll definitely start looking over your shoulder a little more after seeing It Follows.  And that is the mark of a damn good film.

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