Friday, 14 August 2015

It Follows (2015) - Her review

Warning: this review contains spoilers.

Well, at least he told her. He could of just ran off and never let her know that he was infected. Whoa, I'm not talking about that kind of infection, I'm talking about the kind of infection that leaves you with a invisible being following you, whose only intent is to kill you in a gory manner. And it's the type of infection that you can only get rid of by sleeping around.

It Follows takes a simple concept and wraps it around familiar tropes which at best creates a disturbing sense of familiarity and the uncanny, and at worst leaves you pining to watch the films it is reminiscent of. John Carpenter's Halloween is the obvious example, with the gaping suburban streets and electronic music, but similarities with Cat People, Nightmare on Elm Street, George Romero's zombie films, and even Larry Clark's Kids, are also apparent.

Maika Monroe is the unlucky Jay, who falls for the guy with the infection. After he tells her the in's and out's of The Thing That Follows. Her friends swear to help her, but are equally dubious about her new found paranoia. Seemingly it can't get you while you're in a car, so they drive away to the beach, but they soon learn that you need to aware at all times. As her ex (Jake Weary) warned; its slow, not dumb. They plan to trap it in a swimming pool and electrocute it, but their plan doesn't quite work out.

The Thing That Follows is an eerie creature, and the segments that it appears in are suitably creepy, as its slow walk is almost Terminator like in its determination. However, it is the humans, the victims of this film, that are the most frustrating. They commit some of the most silly mistakes that are guaranteed to frustrate the hell out of a seasoned horror viewer, things that you think people would be too cliched nowadays.

Stylistically, the film looks great, with soft cinematography, with a retro leaning, working well with the camera work, including an expertly disorientating 360 degree shot that makes what would normally be tedious research scene memorable. The music is also excellent, with Disasterpeace's synth and distortion filled soundtrack providing most of the tension and proving the films high point.

The major down point of the film for me is the script. It Follows has a interesting idea and does nothing with it. It feels like the film runs out of ideas half way through, and the ending leaves much to be desired. While open-ended and oblique finales can be intriguing for the audience, this ending was so sudden and underwhelming, it makes you think that writer and director David Robert Mitchell just couldn't think of one. Where the film questions its own plot so little anyway (we never learn where this curse came from, and the characters make very little effort to find out), the ending does not feel like much of a pay-off at all, and left us questioning, "is that it?"

My interpretation of the ending, though? We are defiantly led to believe that there is something following Jay and Paul (Keir Gilchrist), and after their sex scene and subsequent holding-of-hands, I presume that they have now decided to be boyfriend and girlfriend, or at least give the impression of being so. Knowing that The Thing That Follows does indeed still haunt it's former prey, and that the only way it can get more victims is by its victims passing it on in coitus, the image of Jay and Paul walking confidently down the suburbs hand in hand suggest that maybe they have sacrificed themselves to the will of this creature. If they continue to stay together, and always stay out of reach of the creature, then it can't be passed on anymore. Maybe the creature will die out when one of dies, and they'll therefore destroy the Thing without endangering other people.

What started off strongly soon turned into a predictably and equally baffling nostalgia-fest, and what is maybe the worst thing about this so-called horror is that it is not even scary. Apparently a sequel is in the works, and while I cannot doubt that Mitchell has some great ideas as a director (and I will definitely keep an eye out for his other films), this story defiantly needs expanding on if it is to survive as a franchise.



You can read Richee's review of It Follows here.

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