28th Jun2015

‘It Follows’ Blu-ray Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Linda Boston, Ruby Harris, Bailey Spry, Debbie Williams | Written and Directed by David Robert Mitchell

it-follows-blu

Horror is at its most affective when it takes real world situations and inserts the strange and unnatural into them.  When that subtle little oddity stands out to the camera, suddenly nothing is safe and everything can be a danger.  This is exactly why It Follows is one of the best horrors you’ll see this year.

When Jay (Maika Monroe) goes out on a date, everything seems fine until she finds herself tied to a chair and unable to move.  As he tells her of a creature that is going to start following her, at first she doesn’t believe him, until she starts to notice its presence everywhere she goes.  Often somebody she knows, or somebody odd enough to stand out all she knows is she must not let it catch her.  This is easier said than done when it seems to forever be there, getting closer and closer.

It Follows works because it sets up a simple premise, after having sex a curse is passed on which then pursues the  victim until they pass the curse to another.  A metaphor for sexual transmitted diseases it works on the fear of the ever-present danger, constantly moving in on the attack with no way to defeat it, as the promise that it will pass back to them once it has claimed the new victim is ever-present.

What is surprising about It Follows is how it manages to keep adapting the scares to keep the situation genuinely creepy.  The creature is never fully explained, the audience is always paying attention to every person on-screen, just to see if they are the thing ready to attack again.  Just when you feel at ease with the fact that you know which person it is, suddenly the rules are rewritten.  The intelligent use of camera space creates a claustrophobic feel for the audience, even with wide shots as we see the creature in the distance, or suddenly unpleasantly close.

The role of Jay is played well by Maika Monroe, creating a character who just feels like a typical teenage girl, she is perfect for the audience to connect to and empathise with.  She innocently goes on a date and sleeps with a boy only to find herself stalked by the presence of death.  The fact that she is pushed to “pass it on” does bring into question the characters moral values but Monroe never plays the role in a simple way.  It’s not a case of what is black and white, what she has to do to survive is ambiguous in its nature, as is the very thing she is running from.

It Follows is a style of horror that I wish we saw more of.  It is ambitious in what it tries to achieve and well thought out in just how it presents itself on-screen.  With a young cast that work together well, these teens are never just cannon fodder for the monster of the week but a group of friends trying to protect one of their own.  The relationships are believable and the characters are likable, which is something that is also refreshing to see these days.

Normally the obnoxious fools in other typical horrors make us want to see them dead even before the first swish of a blade.  It Follows makes you care about these people, then puts them in danger.   I wish we saw more of this focus on actual likable people in films like this.  When you empathise with the characters on-screen the impact of the situation is all the more effective.

For anybody looking for a refreshingly innovative horror It Follows is a perfect recommendation.  The situation created in the film feels believably creepy and the scares are effective.  With no reliance on the jump scare, instead focusing on the slow creeping build-up that makes your flesh crawl It Follows is the horror that we deserve more of but will unfortunately not get.  This is not Hollywood horror, this is Indie horror at its best.

***** 5/5

It Follows is released on DVD and Blu-ray on 29th June.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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