Review – “It Follows” is as Quiet as it is Terrifying
When you are scrolling down the list of films in the “Horror” category of Netflix, you probably just scrolled right past a hidden gem. “It Follows” is a 2014 horror film set in the 80s. Jay, the 19-year old protagonist goes out on a date one night, and sex inevitably happens. However, she has just contracted a sort of cursed “STD” that is only passed along by sleeping with someone. It is something that appears to be a regular person, or someone you know, but once it gets to you, it kills you. This summary probably sounds ridiculous, but the film turns this very bizarre plot into something far more terrifying.
While watching, all the viewers have as much information as the characters in the movie do. Next to nothing. So, we were all wondering the big question or questions. Where did this STD thing come from? Why is it following me? Why is it passed via sex? Too bad we’ll never know. But that is exactly what makes it scary, there aren’t any real answers.
Something else…this movie keeps all of those realistic aspects in the story. Such as involving the police. I mean, when you don’t know who to call, you call the police. When your sister comes out of the car of a man and is only in her underwear, disoriented and crying, you call the cops. So, thank you for making this real.
One other thing, and this is coming from someone who grew up in the late 90s, not the 80s. Seeing the freedom that these kids have to simply leave their home, stay out overnight, and NOT TELL ANYONE, and not get the cops called and looking for a runaway.
All of the acting is wonderful in my opinion. The connections these characters have with each other is great. And I can feel the love between some, and the awkwardness between others.
But let’s talk about Jay and how good she is at looking completely petrified THE ENTIRE MOVIE. She is going through an emotional rollercoaster, dealing with fear, and then helplessness, wondering if her friends even believe her or not. She is quite literally running for her life the entire movie.
And if these characters aren’t afraid, they’re paranoid as hell. Always jumpy, always on edge. Hugh is a great example of this. Sure that he has passed on his curse to Jay, but he can never be sure if she was killed by it and it’s now after him. The conversations between all of them are realistic, however, this movie does not incorporate much dialogue at all, so if you’re hoping for a long winded explanation 20 minutes before the ending, then you’ll be disappointed. You are simply in for the ride as much as the characters are.
First thing is first, the score. The score is perfect, mixing the 80s vibe with emphasis on the eerie atmosphere of the movie. The score was never overwhelming, and always complimenting the terror of the film. Also speaking of that great 80s vibe, the costumes are great as well. I just love everyone’s clothes.
When you see “It” or the person-thing that follows you, they say it can look like anyone, and it does, but each person has something that makes it look so creepy and inhuman. Especially the ones that are following Jay.
And then when it kills you, it’s frightening. I mean, we don’t really know the cause of death of the victims, but when Jay see’s it kill Greg, it looks like his mom, and she is half naked and urinating on him. Like…shit…if I saw that I would just not know how to feel but afraid because it’s so shocking.
Did anyone else notice that Jay’s mother’s face is blurred out of focus most of the time. I mean we see Hugh’s mom clearly, and then Jay’s mom clearly in a single shot and in photos. But her mother is absent from her life at this point due to alcohol abuse, so this is how we are seeing her mother as well. Barely there.
Immediately upon the film’s opening, I knew there would be great filmography. The shots and the dismal looking filter put on everything makes it a great entrance for a horror film. And it’s not just how the shots look, although I do so love how completely symmetrical long shots are, for example, when Jay and Hugh are on their first date and making out in his car, the shot of the side of the car is dead center on the screen. It looks great, yet the perfectionism of the shots are also eerie at the same time.
Another great example of the filmography is the choreography of all of the scenes. One that comes to mine immediately is when Jay and Greg are in a high school speaking to a secretary, and the camera stays in the hallway, doing a slow pan in circles. The way the actors move and hit their marks as the camera is moving, and also the viewer seeing what is following them in the distance just for a moment until the camera moves away, it is all brilliantly directed. Watching it is mesmerizing.
Another little detail that struck me was the use of camera POVs. There are times in the film that the camera shows a character and then kind of slowly pans upward, looking at trees, or looking elsewhere, but it’s apparent that the camera is showing us that particular character’s POV and where they are looking. The same thing happens in the beginning, but with the thing that follows staring at it’s victim, slow moving, but still maintaining focus on the girl in heels.
Let’s also talk about the pool scene at the end. What a great way to quietly emphasize the fear of being in a pool surrounded by plugged in appliances. Also the way it looks, and the way it was planned by the characters is flawless. Even when the plan backfires and the thing that follows her starts to throw the appliances at her – I mean we all know how hard it is to duck away from something being hurtled at you while you’re in water. You can dive away, sure, but you could get hit in the leg instead of the face.
Finally, let me say a few words about the ending. It is one of the best endings I have ever seen. Complimenting the quote from “The Idiot” spoken by Yara, another character, it is emphasizing that you can go on with what you are doing and try to ignore it, but it is death and the only thing that is certain is that it will not stop following you until you are dead.
- I already talked about imminent death, so we can skip that one. Death is coming for all of us eventually.
- STDs. This being a metaphor for something that is caught while having sex. It is so easily passed on to another, but it is something that remains within you, an unspoken “curse” that doesn’t go away.
I think we all know that I thought this was an AWW YEAH THAT FUCKED ME UP! Great watching it the first time, even better a second time. I highly recommend!