IT FOLLOWS (USA/16/100mins)
Directed by David Robert Mitchell. Starring Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Linda Boston, Ruby Harris, Debbie Williams.
THE PLOT: It’s Detroit, and teenager Jay (Monroe) has finally gotten down to doing the do with Hugh (Weary), her boyfriend of just a few weeks. Only trouble is, after they have sex, Hugh reveals to Jay that he has given her something. And, unfortunately for Jay, it’s not sexual. It’s spiritual. As in, an evil spirit, a shapeshifter that will walk at a steady pace after Jay until, hey, she manages to have sex with someone else, thus passing it on. Which, for a hot young blonde teenage girl in Detroit, should take all of about 4 minutes. With Hugh – who’s really called Jeff – explaining that should Jay be killed, the curse will bounce back to him, they hatch a plan to kill the follower. After Jay sleeps with an old boyfriend. And a poor schmuck who’s always had a crush on her.
THE VERDICT: A plot idea inspired by a recurring dream writer/director David Robert Mitchell had as a kid, about a relentless, slow predator, IT FOLLOWS follows in the tradition of HALLOWEEN, THE TERMINATOR and so many other horror and sci-fi classics. The sweet twist here is having the seemingly unstoppable killer take on many identities, sometimes someone known to the fleeing victim, sometimes not. Which means the victim – and the audience – can never be sure of anyone who walks into frame. It works like a charm when it comes to the slow creep, as this, well, slow creep could be looking straight at you, right now.
What IT FOLLOWS has to say about the difference between men and women’s attitude towards sex is nicely pointed too, as Jay finds her loving boyfriend quickly dumping her, and quipping that she’ll find another sexual partner in no time because she’s “pretty”. Truly, women can fake orgasms, and men can fake whole relationships.
Review by Paul Byrne 

It Follows
Review by Paul Byrne
4.0Sweet twist
  • filmbuff2011

    Since its debut at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, It Follows has been gathering acclaim across the board. It deserves it – this could be the year’s best horror film. Dreamy but down-to-earth teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) goes on a few dates with Hugh (Jake Weary) and ends up having sex with him in a car. She blacks out and then wakes up tied to a wheelchair. Hugh informs her that he’s passed something onto her – a curse of sorts, as a strange figure walks relentlessly towards her and its very touch will kill her. The only way to stop it is to pass it on to someone else. Over the coming days, Jay sees various people with blank expressions walking towards her. If she runs, she can escape it for a while. But eventually it will catch up with her and try to kill her. There seems to be no escape from whatever is following her… It Follows is a simple, straightforward film but it’s pay-off is brilliantly executed. It’s set in an everyday world where even a figure in the distance looks suspicious. This is the stuff of nightmares and the film itself feels like a living nightmare that just won’t end. Eat your heart out, Freddy Krueger. Director David Robert Mitchell came up with the idea after childhood nightmares about being followed by someone, or something. The idea of having the creature (or whatever it is) changing identity each time recalls John Carpenter’s The Thing and the curse element recalls the Japanese Ring films. But It Follows feels entirely original and genuinely unnerving throughout. Monroe, a break-out star on the strength of last year’s excellent cult film The Guest, further consolidates her potential as a name to watch – and a possible scream queen. The ending might beckon towards a sequel, but that would be unwise. It Follows works perfectly as a stand-alone independent horror film that leaves most Hollywood horror efforts in the dust. This is horror at its most startling and creepy – and it might just make you look behind as you walk home. Brilliant. Go see. *****

  • emerb

    American writer-director David Robert Mitchell has produced one of the most unexpected and original horror films in years with his latest movie, indie horror movie, “It Follows”. This is a skilfully made, low budget but first rate chiller which could be described as a clever blend of atmospheric classic horror movie with a modern coming of age drama. It is a strange and yet menacing supernatural thriller that will get right in there and won’t let you go. The opening sequence shows a disoriented teenage girl stumbling from her house and fleeing in panic
    from an invisible presence that nobody can see. The only people who can see this “demon” are others like her – victims of a sexually transmitted curse that infiltrates their lives. Moments later, after a panicked call to her parents, we see her mangled body on the beach, the victim of a horrific and violent act. This may sound ridiculous but far from it, this movie feels fresh and unlike horrors of recent years and will definitely get under your skin.

    In the heart of a down at heel American suburb where long legged teenage girls lie about the pool with their male admirers fawning at their half-naked bodies, we are introduced to the main group of characters. Jay (Maika Monroe) is a pretty, untroubled 19 year old girl who makes the mistake of surrendering her virginity on a run-of –the-mill date with Hugh (Jake Weary), she finds herself waking up, tied to a chair as he explains the menace that their sexual encounter has unleashed. She will be tormented by the presence of an evil phantom – a mysterious, slow moving, terrifyingly unhurried presence that can assume any (frequently naked) human form. This phantom will follow you, always knowing where you are and never stop heading towards you. The only advice he gives her is to stay away and try to pass the danger to somebody else. Eventually her
    friends catch on but rather than thinking she’s deluded, they want to help and this further fuels the “credibility” of the story. They all begin to feel the physical presence of the ghost and attempt to take control of the situation and outwit the curse, leading to a nail biting final encounter in a swimming pool.

    Monroe gives a subtle, subdued performance that gives her character credibility and we can sympathise with her plight. There are no adults in the movie and her friends never develop substantial personalities but they are natural and appealing throughout and there is a nice, awkward chemistry between them all. The real star here is the creepy atmosphere created by the constantly pacing invisible foe. The director does not resort to cheap shocks, there is a style and tone established at the outset and Mitchell sticks rigidly to this. While there are a number of jump-scares as the being appears out of the shadows in unexpected
    forms, these bursts of action are well timed and executed and create a tension that doesn’t interfere with the looming threat. I thought the film makes a great use of silence, in between the kill scenes – Jay bolts into the woods alone, she lingers on a swing in a deserted playground or lies still in her bed. The reliance on good story telling and a broodingly quiet atmosphere rather than pumped-up visual effects heightens the fear.

    It’s hard to define the haunting intensity of “It Follows” but there is definitely something inherently terrifying about a malevolent creature appearing out of nowhere and slowly, relentlessly and purposefully walking towards you. I found it so effective, that I was scanning every scene in the movie for imminent threats or potential culprits. It’s both familiar and yet blood curdling, predictable and yet
    shocking, the gripping fear is just impossible to shake off. The period details hint at an eighties setting and the score is aptly dreary which cleverly heightens the tension at all the right points. The cinematography is suitably grey, dark and looming, evoking an eerie and foreboding atmosphere. With its prowling, dreamlike atmosphere, down to earth performances and smart premise, this stylish and suspenseful movie is any horror fan’s ideal flick.