This is really some good stuff. Best horror film of the last decade? It’s a contender. And with “The Babadook” getting so much attention just a few months back, it’s nice to see some “new-kids-on-the-block” fright film directors, so meticulously exacting with this disrespected genre. “It Follows” uses some of the many clichéd tropes from the gamut of classics of the field, right on down to the teenager-baiting crap that gets unleashed in theaters every couple of weeks. But writer/director David Robert Mitchell is obviously too smart to fall into the trap of puerility. He’s crafted something very intense, quite adult, and extremely scary here. David’s not in this for cheap shocks…”It Follows” gets under your skin and stays there. I’ll be certain to remember it when compiling my year-end Top Ten. And I’m adding Mr. Mitchell to the short list of top helmers of the current scare field, like Ti West, Larry Fessenden, Jennifer Kent and Neil Marshall.
The movie opens with a scene of a young girl apparently being stalked. I say apparently…because we don’t glimpse anyone near her while she frantically stumbles out of her house and clambers around the street before taking off in her car. But when her body is found on a beach, the die of the plot is cast. Afterwards, we meet the teenage beauty Jay (the very effective Maika Monroe). With a troubled home life, including an absentee father, and possibly alcoholic, hard-working, single mother, we (the audience) immediately feel sympathy for (and protective of) Jay and her sister, Kelly (Lili Sepe). Later, we see Jay engage in sexual relations with her boyfriend Jeff (Jake Weary) in his car. Soon after, she’s been chloroformed, brought to an abandoned structure, and tied to a chair. We then listen, while Jeff explains to a trembling Jay, how “It” follows, how he’s passed “It” onto Jay, and what she should do to save herself.
There are obvious inspirations here, from works like John Carpenter’s “Halloween”, Jacques Tourneur’s “Night of the Demon”, J-horror, George A. Romero’s zombie series, and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. I’ve heard some of these movies mentioned, amongst the more insightful critic’s reviews. However, am I the first to recognize the influence of the Universal “Mummy” films of the 1930’s and 1940’s? The never-stopping, ambling force, that will follow you eternally once you’ve been “cursed”. That distinction occurred to me around mid-film, and I believe it’s an accurate one–whether the director intended it, or not. I’m avoiding giving away the best parts of this excellent shocker, so you can go in fresh and experience “It Follows” for yourself. With a low-budget, hardly household name actors, and an abundance of talent (along with a healthy helping of class), Mr. Mitchell has created one of the very best films of early 2015.