Review: It Follows
It Follows has truly terrifying possibilities; some realized, and some unfulfilled.
A demonic curse that runs as an overt metaphor for promiscuous sex is set upon 19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe), but at least she is given fair warning from her desperate man. The pair has had intimate relations– consensually – but afterwards, moving from the desolate parking lot to the abandoned building, Jay is treated to a horrifying gift. This part is against her will, though she may be happy about the knowledge bestowed on her. Not happy, but better off, for sure.
Through sex, she has been given a follower: an ambulatory stalker, this plague that takes the shape of any human being and will tail her incessantly. When it reaches her, it will kill her; we get a quite a gruesome and effective opening scene to illustrate. She is spared such a tragic demise if she passes along the disease. The only way to pass it on is by more sex; of course you’re fully aware of what you’re doing.
The (other) catch is that when *it* kills someone, it goes back up the sex chain (ahem), so maybe there is no safety.
With a voyeuristic eye, creeping camera, and haunting, synthesizer-fueled soundtrack, director David Robert Mitchell takes his time to explore the space surrounding Jay and her protectorate of friends, often panning in full circles as you stare into the background for something to pop up. The paranoia that runs through Jay’s mind is even stronger in that of the viewer – what are you doing falling asleep Jay?! The world in which we are watching is set up so perfectly that you are constantly aware that something bad could happen at any moment. Jay is always, undeniably, being followed – and only she can see the follower. Though everyone can feel it.
However, the conceit starts to sag in the third act, fading away during a muddled finale where the narrative tries to get too creative. Pure terror exists at times, and the film does well to employ a variety to figures (often sexual) to follow. Technically excellent and with a strong premise, It Follows has high ambition and worthy results.