Poster

Early spring has been a tough time for movies.

After enduring weeks of bland nothingness, It Follows finally gave people something to talk about this year. Critics adore It Follows—hence a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Hyperbole like “must-see horror movie of the year” has been rampant in reviews. And it is totally undeserved.

It Follows is unique in that it’s not a remake or sequel. Writer/director David Robert Mitchell deserves credit for creating an original idea within the horror genre. Although it is still about some type of supernatural entity, this being comes after you have sex with someone it is haunting. You move to the front of the line. If it kills you, then it works its way back down the line to the person who infected you.

Essentially, it is a curse passed through sex. Like an STD, get it?

Close Encounter

While it is an interesting premise, I never felt enthralled by It Follows. It isn’t necessarily a scary movie in terms of jump scares or overwhelmingly gory violence. However, It Follows does indeed follow some of those themes—very effectively in the opening when you see the contortioned body of the film’s first victim. But the “monster” in this movie is mostly a looming threat of impending doom.

The intention seems to be to establish a mood of constant anxiety and fear. The execution does not follow through on this intention. In some aspects, It Follows invokes a sense of nostalgia for John Carpenter’s horror movies of the 80s. Just without the spirit. There’s no fun even though the premise is rife for it. If more camp or any remotely appealing element were mined for enjoyment, then I could potentially champion this movie. It either takes itself too seriously or simply doesn’t know what it is.

It Follows features Maika Monroe as Jay—the girl who unknowingly got pulled into this situation after a consensual sexual encounter. Maika’s performance isn’t superb (as some suggest) but it is adequate. She was suitable for the role. My faults with the movie have nothing to do with her, but I don’t think she can carry a movie. At times, David Robert Mitchell mistakenly puts more on her shoulders than she can handle.

Maika Monroe

I did not enjoy the pouty-lipped, contemplative scenes where Jay is exploring her emotions.

Much like the monster’s gait, the pace of It Follows is slow and steady. Slow enough that it renders the steadiness irrelevant. While there is a pervasive feeling of foreboding, It Follows is not terrifying. There’s nothing wrong with a psychological approach, but this movie is dull and drab.

Ultimately, It Follows cannot escape its own clutches.

Why the widespread critic appeal? I suppose it is the result of an intentionally vague storyline rich with potential for allegories. Everything can be a metaphor for anything. Most critics will seize the opportunity to wax poetic with fabricated implications of hidden meanings. Whether or not this was done by David Robert Mitchell’s design, it appears to be a genuine factor in the film’s success among critics.

Personally, I found It Follows to be a jumbled, bizarre mess.

Peekaboo

Placing the movie in an abstract time is an example of uneven decision-making. Case in point, one of the friends of the main character has a shell-looking makeup compact that’s an e-reader despite the film’s mostly retro 70s era style. What purpose does it serve other than to distract?

It is quirk for the sake of quirk.

If you managed to miss It Follows when it was in theaters during March, then you didn’t miss much. For those who are ardent fans of the horror genre, then you probably already watched the movie and enjoyed it on some level. It Follows is not fantastic but it avoids being a generic regurgitation of common tropes. It might help if you imagine your own ending because the final act is almost unbearably dumb. Keep your expectations down to the bare minimum and you won’t walk away too disappointed.

Remember you can also find It Follows by the alternate title—Close Sexual Encounters of the Third Kind. Warning: do not click on this movie’s porn parody—Shit Follows. It will haunt you.

Haunting

2.5 out of 5 stars

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