Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Movie Review - "It Follows" (2015) - You Can't Outrun Death
In an age where the classic horror icons and slashers have become nothing more than parodies and satires of their former selves, it is difficult for new pieces of horror and monsters to stand out. Many of the more recent horror films have taken a different route by having a faceless monster, lurking in the shadows and going unnamed, with varying degrees of success.
"It Follows" takes a bit from both columns, giving the film a unique experience in this age of jump scares and computer generated blood. At times, it feels akin to John Carpenter's "The Thing," with a monster that has no true form and can literally be anything it wants, as long as it can get closer to you. This creature is intelligent, unrelenting and could be right behind you without even a second thought about it.
Jay (Maika Monroe) goes about her normal life - going to school, hanging out with her family and friends and going on dates. After one of those fateful dates though, it turns out that her boyfriend has passed a curse on to her - A shapeshifting monster will continually stalk her and stop at nothing until it kills her. She attempts to make a run for it, as the monster can only walk, but she eventually has to stop, giving the creature more than enough time to catch up.
A few more notes about this curse - It is exchanged to different hosts through sex, and was given to Jay when she made love to her boyfriend. Jay can get rid of it, but only by having sex with someone else. If the creature successfully kills the person it is after, it will hunt down the last person to have the curse.
We don't know how this all began and why intercourse causes it to switch hosts, but that makes it all the more terrifying. We fear what we don't understand. When it comes to supernatural beings, somethings are best left unexplained. There is enough information on this monster to fear it, and too much more could make us sympathize with it.
But the scariest aspect of this monster is that it walks towards you, never stopping for anything except to kill you. It does not need to go any faster. Even if you run away, it will catch up eventually. Just like death itself, this monster is an inevitability.
The characters are about as normal as you get - People going about their daily lives, having fun with friends, but willing to help out others in a time of need. Nothing too extravagant comes from them, but that is fine for this film since the primary focus is on the monster and stopping it. There is one character, Jay's neighbor (played by EgoRaptor...I mean Daniel Zovatto), who sticks out when Jay is attacked and, without as much as a question, says that he will help out in any way he can and drives them to Jay's boyfriend to find out more information. He is a stand-out dude and a nice change of pace in the horror genre.
What really helps punctuate the tense moments is the score. During scenes where Jay is merely scanning the area for the monster, the music is often loud, boisterous and atmospheric. But in scenes where the characters are laying back and relaxing, only for the audience to see a person walking up behind Jay, the music is silent and let's our screams and gasps be the soundtrack. The music knows when to help add atmosphere to the scene, and when to just let the scene be itself without any help.
Overall, "It Follows" is a gripping and often terrifying horror film. It takes some of the newer aspects of horror and combines it with the style of films like "Alien" and "Halloween" to give itself a unique feel. The monster is basic and is immediately scary for that same reason. This is not a bloody mess movie, not is it gore porn, but a smart yet simple movie about people attempting to outrun something they're not sure is there.
Final Grade: A-