It Follows ★★★★½

For years, the horror genre has had this theme of being stalked. Someone is following you, walking behind you, and no matter how fast you try to get away from them, they will always catch up with you. Characters like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees thrive on this idea, and the zombie classics created all of their tension this way, knowing they would reach you at some point no matter how slow they creeped. But what if the thing following you wasn't a zombie you could stop by causing brain damage to? What if the thing that's following you could just show up randomly and no one could even warn you about it? What if it just kept following you and only you no matter how far away you go? It Follows.

It's so minimal and yet so effective. Because you always know that it's following, you're always on edge waiting for it to come, even when the movie takes its time to slow down and give you a breather, which it does often, you don't trust it enough for you to let yourself slow down and take a breather. There isn't any over the top gore and only minimal actual special effects. Instead the movie relies on the audience's expectations of what will happen next. You'll find yourself watching the backgrounds of scenes in anticipation of something approaching, and even still, it finds ways to surprise you.

It Follows is a very surreal reality. It seemingly takes place in everyday suburbia, but something is just slightly off throughout. The entire film seems to be suspended in this dreamlike state where things don't quite match up. Newer technology and black and white television inhabit the same room, the soundtrack is purely inspired 80s synth while overall visual styling seems to come from both the 90s and the 70s. Some locations seem very now while others are like stepping back in time. It indeed has a nostalgic feel, but for when exactly can't be assured. And that makes it all the more interesting and creepy.

The camera work is also interesting and the cinematography has moments of pure brilliance. Nothing exactly new is created here, but instances of being strapped to a turbulent chair or circling around inside a school corridor are well and powerfully done. Shots that pull focus or are partially blurry add to both the creepiness and the dreaminess of what's going on as well.

The film is simple but strong, although also ambiguous in ways. Not all questions are answered by the film's story, though they don't really need to be. In fact, in not answering questions, it brings up discussion of the film's themes, such as love and sex. In many ways, the film is philosophical, partially in its subtle and symbolic acting, but also in its blatant theory being spouted throughout.

It Follows is an entertainingly haunting film experience that permeates your mind and stays with you after the movie is over. You could even say it follows you home.

William O. liked this review