It Follows ★★★★½


Visionary in its storytelling, unique in its concept, insanely confident, and completely astonishing from the first frame to the last; David Robert Mitchell's It Follows is a glorious treasure of the horror genre, crafting a spellbinding story full of character and style while never (not even for a second) skimping out on an inch of atmosphere and increasingly foreboding dread.

The story of It Follows involves Jay (expertly played by Maika Monroe), a young girl who after a innocent sexual encounter, is followed by an unknown force. Knowing anything more than that is almost a sin, as David Robert Mitchell crafts surprise and horror like nobody's business. The simple tale, written by Mitchell, is a masterclass in both developing character traits and ratcheting up anxiety. The cast, made up of mostly young actors, sells every moment and set-piece with conviction and class, only enveloping the audience further into this nightmarish vision. Every character feels real and a part of this fable-esque world, one full of rolling leaves and sudden shadows. A huge basis for horror is believable and rational characters, and Mitchell understands that and brings that very concept to It Follows with ease and versatility.

And yet, the star of this horror show is the scares. I mean, what is a horror film without its scares? It Follows starts menacingly and only expands from the outset, luring the audience immediately into an environment of innocence lost, or at least, innocence in the process of fading away. Abandon all expectations for those who enter here, as It Follows is expertly built on the nightmares and the fears of the unknown. Within the realms of Mitchell's masterwork, the tapestry flows and bursts with a sense of vitality and an endless stream of cinematic possibilities. No one is safe, no scene feels secure or off-limits, and every moment is almost at the limit of explosion in regards to its tension. This is one tightly-wound motherfucker, and once it starts, you won't be able to stop your palms from sweating and your feet from nervously kicking.

The combination of David Robert Mitchell's direction and Mike Gioulakis' cinematography equals a horror picture of sublime composition and delicate positioning of the camera. From the leaf-laden cabins, the expansive seas, and the haunting playgrounds in the middle of a cool night; It all reeks of disquieting and hair-raising terror. Mitchell makes the most use of every location, throwing in a new technique every five seconds to keep the blood-curdling imagery fresh and consistently lush. Along with Disasterpeace's lucid and unforgettable score, the atmosphere of It Follows is nothing less than a shining example of how to craft mood and frightening emotions, and more importantly, how to build that mood up to a fever pitch.

And yet, the greatest aspect of It Follows just might be its massive boiling pot of themes and motifs that are expertly hidden within such a agonizing vision. The comments on sex, the loss of childhood, and the fascinating discussion on the inevitability of death results in a picture that keeps you on your toes while still swirling your cinephile mindset. The film basically is an ominous and expertly crafted piece of cinematic perfection, having every element together in perfect synchronization.

It Follows will inevitably get a backlash as a result of the massive hype behind it, but let it come. David Robert Mitchell's film is a force of nature, and if you let seep into your mind, your memories, and your dreams; you'll find a deeply satisfying experience that is as unsettling as it is remarkably dazzling. For all the modern horror that has come and gone as it disappointed as a result of the expectations, I cannot overstate how refreshing it is to see a work that legitimately is a horror classic.

That's worth the nightmares that I'll be having for the next few months. Thank you It Follows for actually scaring me. No, scratch that. Thank you It Follows for horrifying me just as much as when I saw Halloween when I was a young boy. 2015, I don't care if its only March, you have a tough contender to battle out of the top spot, as this might be the film of the year.

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