It Follows is one of the creepiest horror films released in recent years. It will get under your skin from the very beginning and just continue to burrow its way deeper and deeper as the story unravels. It is destined to become a cult classic.
One of the primary reasons that It Follows is so effective is because of the simplicity of its story. Jay meets a guy that she seems interested in. He’s a charming and handsome guy who treats her kindly. After several dates, she makes the decision to have sex with him. Afterwards, while she is still smiling ear to ear, he chloroforms her and she wakes up to find herself tied to a chair in an abandoned building. He tells her not to worry, that he won’t hurt her. He explains that by having sex with him, he passed something on to her. This thing that he has given her is a creature that will follow her now; until she passes it on to someone else by having sex with them. This creature could look like a complete stranger, a celebrity, or a family member, but it will never stop following her until it gets her and kills her. To prove his point, he moves her chair over to a window in the building and points to something out in a field of overgrown brush across the street. It is a women, in her mid 50’s, completely naked and lumbering slowly in their direction. It’s staring at Jay like she’s prey.
It Follows relies on the creepiness of this premise to capture the viewer’s attention, and it works. There is no noticeable CG in the film, the sets look like real places that are probably inhabited by the filmmakers’ friends and family. Instead of trying to cram in these bells and whistles, writer/director David Robert Mitchell captures our attention and then keeps us interested by creating an atmosphere that keeps us on edge for the entire 100 minute running time.
The mark of any good horror film is how much it gets in your head after you finish watching it. This is where It Follows really makes its impact. Long after the last shot ends, you’ll find yourself watching strangers around you closely. Is that soccer mom walking towards you? Does she have a blank stare on her face and a lumbering gait? What about the post man? Or your old neighbor? Everyone is game, no matter how young, old, friendly, or menacing they look. They could all be coming for you!
It Follows is an impressive debut from David Robert Mitchell; one that shows that the filmmaker has a strong grasp of how to turn even the most simple setup into something genuinely creepy. He has a great understanding of pacing and how to create mood. If It Follows is any indication of his future in the business, then this may be the beginning of a promising career.
It Follows is a creepy, atmospheric, tightly wound suspense/horror film that will grab you from the beginning and never let go. It is easily the best of this genre for 2015 and maybe for the past several years. Check it out.