By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
9:15pm Feb 14
Fans of minimalist horror will love what’s created in a simple tale of terror, It Follows and to find where it will screen next requires carefully paying attention to film festival or this movie’s own Facebook page for where it will play next.
Students of the occult will want to figure out what the entity is and to figure out what the monster represents can be studied in film analysis class but is any of the above really needed at all? Most likely not, but in a film that certainly delves into themes about sexual awakening, this tribute to 80’s sentimentality certainly delivers the thrills in an effective manner that even John Carpenter would approve of.
Writer/Director David Robert Mitchell‘s second feature film certainly highlights what life is like around Detroit, Michigan. The desolation and humdrum of suburbia is ripe for secret horrors to lurk. When the life of Jay (Maika Monroe) gets turned upside down after a seemingly innocent sexual tryst with her boyfriend, just what happens next is the stuff of nightmares. There’s a terror that will eventually arrive. It takes on the forms of people Jay may not necessarily know. There’s observations known about what the horror is and they are told to her. But if she only thought about remembering them and is willing to pass the curse on, would she be able to escape?
In true classic tradition, no hero or heroine ever does.
The soundtrack is what really carries this film. It’s unrelenting beats when the horror comes underscores what many a horror film from back in the days can do. It evokes a sense of unease and to see this movie carefully and sparingly use this music to create the terror really works to make this film terrific. To use any other contemporary score would have only diminished this movie’s impact. Long time horror fans will recall the use of sonics in fond classics like Sidney J. Furie’s The Entity (more on this later) or Dario Argento’s Suspiria. The band Goblin is well-known for using the Devil’s Tritone in many a composition. In this film, Rich Vreeland created the score. He’s better known as Disasterpeace and this soundtrack is destined for greatness.
Even the performances are good. Monroe conveys a wholesome girl type image. A closeness can be found in how Mitchell crafts the relationships that’s seen on-screen. Kelly (Lili Sepe), Paul (Keir Gilchrist) and Greg (Daniel Zovatto) believe in what Jay is experiencing and they do everything they can to keep her safe. Although Greg is more like the bad-boy of the group, just to see how these childhood chums become something more in their teen years is a plot point that must be noted.
The movie easily shows that Paul has feelings for Jay. When he finally admits that to her, just what happens is predictable. He’s also the smart cookie in the group and thinks “it” can be defeated by trapping it in a pool of water. In The Entity, scientists try to freeze the invisible supernatural force.
Far too many STD jokes are made about this film. Yes, this film can be interpreted as a morality lesson in that regard, but there’s more to this narrative than just mortifying fears in an age where not everyone understands what they can do to another person’s body. Because when “It” gets you, the way the corpse is defiled begs the question of what does it want? The dead tell no tales.
4 Stars out of 5