By Don Simpson | March 12, 2015
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Writer: David Robert Mitchell
Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary
Sex is quite the sinister act in David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows; sex is the only way to pass a deathly demon from one unsuspecting victim to the next. While Mitchell’s film is not exactly a heavy-handed metaphor about sexually transmitted diseases, it does seem to have somewhat puritanical roots in its portrayal of pre-marital intercourse. At the very least, It Follows is a haunting portrayal of one’s sexual history, as sexual intercourse essentially leads to death.
As you will hear from countless critics, It Follows is not nearly as simplistic as it seems on paper. As if a continuation upon the themes of The Myth of the American Sleepover, It Follows is a thoughtful examination of teenagerdom in the absence of adults. In both films, the protagonists find themselves in similar locales (suburbia) and situations, but It Follows proves to be significantly more mature and sinister. In It Follows, there is an ever-present threat that is utterly inescapable. It does not matter how fast or far you run, the repercussions of sex will always be nearby to haunt you. As the recipient of a sexual act, the only way to pass on its horrors is by making someone else your sexual subservient; but, no matter what, your sexual history will always be a part of you.
Mitchell impressively utilizes his visual compositions — specifically ominous pans and zooms — to solicit a certain eeriness without ever suggesting an onscreen (or certain) menace; few horror film directors have ever been able to pull off such a feat. Though there are occasional shots of a “bad guy” chasing a “good guy,” Mitchell cares more about the compositional symbolism of it all; and, most fantastically, Mitchell focuses on the atmosphere. The haunting spectres are essentially zombies who are only visible to their victims, and if you attempt to hold much credence to the aggressors, you will most likely be disappointed — this is a purely cinematic scenario that offers no pretense of being real.
Nostalgia plays innumerable roles within the plot It Follows, which relies heavily upon 1980s horror flicks as its guide. That said, the profundity of Mitchell’s film is lightyears beyond John Carpenter and his peers’ oeuvres; regardless, It Follows effectively utilizes the premise of a “bad guy” (Jason, Michael, Freddy) who walks at a snails pace, but who relentlessness gets within striking distance of their prey. If It Follows does not give you goosebumps then you probably have no soul — yeah, you can quote me on that — because, along with The Babadook, this is one of the best horror films of the last decade or so…