It Follows

Director: David Robert Mitchell (2014)
Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi
Find it: IMDB

If you thought that bout of herpes you totally picked up from a toilet seat* in 2001 was bad, spare a thought for poor Jay (Monroe) who finds herself battling one hell of an STD (Sexually Transmitted Demon) after a one night stand with the dickhead trying to palm it off on someone else. It refers to the monster, but the film's title could equally apply to Jay's creepy friend Paul (Gilchrist), who wastes little time trying to turn the situation to his own advantage. I'm not friends with him on Facebook, but if I were, I'd expect to see the word 'friendzone' pop up a lot in his whiny posts.

It Follows... on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and, crucially, from THE FRIENDZONE, where you totally left him.

Neighbour Greg (Daniel Zovatto) is quick to jump to Jay's aid too, in spite of him not really believing in the demon (for want of a better word) or the imminent peril which follows. And boy, does it follow, incessantly and tirelessly. Given that Jay spends a good ninety percent of the film running away from an unstoppable murderous force invisible to others, one might think she'd invest in a decent pair of running shoes or, at least, keep the Nikes handy. Instead, she spends most of her time charging around like a barefoot Quentin Tarantino heroine, in various states of undress. Better that, though, than the obligatory pre-credits victim, tottering about in massive high heels and dead less than five minutes later.

Although its story is good and strong, what makes It Follows so effective is its sense of tone and atmosphere. It does a great job of maintaining the tension and paranoia, reminiscent of Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street (well, it wasn't going to be the other one) and John Carpenter's The Thing (ditto). The Carpenter vibe holds through to the rest of the movie, particularly in the beautiful soundtrack and establishing shots - surely a riff on his Halloween and stalking of Laurie by Michael Myers. If the work of Carpenter and chums read like anti-sex cautionaries (and there are literally hundreds of textbooks which will testify that they do) It Follows drags the idea out. The big bad slasher man might not be there and then at the moment of orgasm to impale your face, but your actions will catch up with you sooner or later, writer/director David Robert Mitchell suggests. The other reading being that sex is all that's between us and Death, keeping it at bay. Which would be a nice thought, if the male love interests weren't all portrayed as being massive arseholes.

Those who enjoyed the likes of The Babadook and Honeymoon should also dig It Follows. It's smart, original and packs in some great scares - organic ones, too, instead of the cheap 'cat in the basement' variety we've become so used to of late. We could say it does for sex as Jaws did for sharks and water, or Psycho for showers and kitchen knives, but if It Follows teaches us anything, it's that men will probably still try to sleep with you even if they think a horrible sex demon will come to get them for it afterwards.

*That's no way to speak about your ex.

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