Reviews and trailers can ruin some films, and It Follows is a concept that thrives on the interpretations its audience will make. It’s like Stephen King said: “Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” With that said, you should go into It Follows blind. You should make your own interpretation. The following review will ensure that your blindfold is tied tight.
When the film opens it feels like familiar territory. If you’ve watched your fair share of horror films you’ll feel like you’ve been here before. It’s a street in the midst of fall, and in a middle-to-upper class neighborhood. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Michael Myers lumbering down the sidewalk or Freddie emerging from the shadows.
This place feels as though it’s just around the corner from Elm Street. In fact, It Follows seems to take inspiration from a lot of genre films.
The soundtrack in reminiscent of John Carpenter and the unstoppable nature of its antagonist is just as unnerving as Arnold Schwarzeneggar and Robert Patrick’s respective Terminators. The teenage characters are plagued by something that can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until they are dead. It’s both an exciting and horrifying dynamic.
Taking another cue from The Terminator, It Follows knows how to deal with exposition and inform its audience without it feeling blatant or contrived. Any moments of information are often done in moments of duress, with the foe only steps behind and in pursuit. In those ways It Follows is a chase film as much as it is a horror film.
Restraint is practiced with experience and respect for the audience. The filmmakers know what to show and when to show it – or when to keep you in the dark.
More often than not, modern horror films hand you all the answers and wave the spooky figure in front of your face so much that it loses the shock value that it once possessed. It Follows distances itself from this trend and grants your imagination with the bone-chilling burden of
filling in the blanks.
The performances in this film don’t call attention to themselves for being horrible or fantastic, and that’s ok. You aren’t particularly invested in the characters, but more so the situation that they’ve found themselves in and the questions that it inspires. It Follows answers a lot of them, but it takes its time without stalling the film’s pace, which is handled with precision and makes every moment count. Nothing seems wasted or lacking.
It Follows will be screened for free by the Trent Film Society on October 7th and at Artspace. Sneak in once the film starts rolling and the dust sparkles in the projector’s glow to avoid potential spoilers from the crowd and the event’s opening introduction. When you leave the theatre, make sure you aren’t being followed.