I was sitting in my room yesterday afternoon when I decided to see a movie. I looked at the show times at my local theaters for a movie starting soon. I wanted to find a movie, leave, and get there within 30 minutes or so. I was hoping for Kingsmen to be played at that time since I haven’t seen it. However, the only movie that fit my small window, and that I hadn’t seen, was It Follows. I sat there pondering whether or not I wanted to actually pay money to watch it. Well I did, and here are my thoughts.
I was hesitant to see It Follows because I generally hate horror films. I won’t go into detail why, I just do not get very much enjoyment out of them because of how badly they are made. I saw a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, watched the trailer, and thought I should give it a chance. Lucky for me, I do not regret my decision.
It Follows stars Maika Monroe who I recently saw in The Guest, which I enjoyed quite a bit. This time she is front and center, playing a character who has sex with her boyfriend and receives a disease of sorts from him. This is probably the best film a Sex Ed class could show to discourage students from underage sex. Immediately after they get together, he explains what he did to her and leaves her to deal with it by herself. “It” refers to someone who follows her, that only she can see. She then goes on a less than enjoyable adventure with her friends to stop this occurrence. That’s all I will explain regarding the plot of this film, because the best parts of it for me were the visual and auditory style throughout.
From the very first shot, my attention was concentrated on the screen. It starts with a shot of a neighborhood street, slowly panning to the right with a girl running out of a house. She stops in the middle of the street, still in one shot. The camera continues a 360 degree, continuous shot back to that same house. This was used again really well, where the camera stays in one place and only rotates giving you a full view of its surroundings. The subtle filming style like this was what I truly enjoyed about this movie, and what I wish other films of the same genre would do more.
Out of the small number number of horror films I have seen, and the substantially less I have liked, one of them is John Carpenter’s Halloween. It is clear that film had a strong influence on the director, David Robert Mitchell. From the unique, synthesized score to overall tone, I felt like I was in a the town from Halloween. If you are going to take from other films, that is a good one to do it from. And for the most part, I thought it was a nice tribute rather than a copy. One scene in the school reminded me a little too much of Halloween, but I wasn’t bothered by it.
This movie seemed to be placed in a very small world. By that I mean the group of friends were really the only characters that were focused on in the script. Their parents are mentioned, but absent for nearly the entire movie. They weren’t necessary for the story the filmmakers wanted to tell, but that doesn’t allow for them to be pushed under the carpet. Some simple storytelling checks were missing, but it didn’t detract from the story too much.
Aside from Monroe, the acting was less than satisfactory. Luckily, the film did not need to rely on dialogue or the performances to make this movie work. Keir Gilchrist played one of the friends, Paul. He was good in 2010’s It’s Kind Of A Funny Story, but here he was a stiff. The dialogue wasn’t inherently bad, just not delivered well. There was also the young Johnny Depp look alike who didn’t do much better either, and Monroe’s sister who contributed nothing of value. There were very little scenes with back and forth dialogue between these characters, so I don’t think it was a big issue.
This is not exactly a scary movie, more of an unnerving one. There are no cheap tricks or jump scares to make it seem scary, well except for one. Although sitting in a relatively comfortable seat, I never felt comfortable inside. I believe that is the feeling one gets and enjoys when they see a good horror film. If more were like this, I would see them. We go to the movies to feel, we see different genres to get different feelings, and scary movies should make us scared. Ouija had scary elements, sure, but it was so terribly made that I got bored and frustrated. Those aren’t the feelings I ever want watching a movie.
It almost seems inevitable now that in order to create suspense in scary movies, you need to have people doing stupid things. If they were smart they wouldn’t be interesting to watch. There are definitely some stupid decisions made by the people in this film. They’ll try to make some grand plan in order to get rid of this disease when there are clearly better, easier solutions. I wasn’t too irritated over this because it wasn’t there just to further the plot. The times I get annoyed the most are when the whole story is happening because of the unbelievably stupid choices people make.
After writing these last few paragraphs, I feel I’ve focused too much negativity into them. I’m thinking about the flaws, but realize how much I enjoyed the movie. The problems I had did not hinder my experience greatly. I’m not putting this movie on any favorites lists, but I will say it is one of the better scary movies of recent years. The cinematography was incredibly well done, the production value overall was excellent, and I was interested for the whole duration. for the fan of horror, this is definitely one I would recommend. For the hesitant fan like me, I would suggest it for consideration.