It Follows

It Follows ★★★★½

I first heard about It Follows in May of 2014 at the Cannes International Film Festival. I had been asked to bartend a premiere party for an independent, low-budget horror production and was bummed that I'd have to miss the Lost River premiere in order to do so. I didn't know of the director, and Maika Monroe was still practically a nobody at the time so her name didn't stand out to me either (this was before the release of The Guest).

I knew that I wouldn't be able to get out of work but I was still heartbroken that I'd have to miss Ryan Gosling's debut feature in order to serve drinks to the cast and crew of what I thought was a rather insignificant film (ha!); when they all started to show up, the smiles on their faces were indescribably broad and they all seemed so proud of themselves.

"How did the premiere go?" I asked a random crew member.
"Couldn't have gone better" was his quick and confident response.

Now I know why.

It Follows is a technical and conceptual achievement in the horror genre if there ever was one. The cinematography is as smooth as can be with its tense tracking shots, slow zooms and circular pans. Disasterpeace's score is a masterful work of cinematic music composition and has to be one of the finest since the likes of Suspiria and Zombi 2. I really hope Mitchell continues to work with him in his future directional endeavors.

I deeply admire that this film was able to achieve such a high level of intensity with such a minimal plot. It was practically almost all atmosphere, but it was damn near dripping with it. Instead of being driven by a full on narrative, It Follows is driven more by a singular concept. It succeeds as a film because the concept is executed to perfection. The idea of a sexually transmitted haunting is brilliant enough to drive an entire horror film in the hands of the right director, and I don't think there's anyone out there that could have handled it better than Mitchell.

The way this film captures the darkness lurking beneath the fragile innocence of suburbia; the way it plays into collective fears by utilizing elements such as the ever-nearing but slow moving & patiently evil entity; the authenticity of the characters; Maika Monroe's fantastically realized performance. All of these aspects contribute to what has to be one of the greatest horror efforts of the 21st century so far, all culminating in a fiercely suspenseful climactic scene taking place along the surface of a local indoor swimming pool.

Terrific, terrific cinema, and profoundly inspiring to someone who dreams of directing feature length horror films myself one day. See it as soon as possible, but try not to look over your shoulder too much once you walk out of the theater.

Now, I'm off to listen to the score
for the 4,910,582th time this week.

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