It Follows


A tone poem of a horror film, It Follows is a cinematic love letter to frightfests of the 70s and 80s, from its brooding John Carpenteresque synth score to its gaggle of bored suburban teens left to freely roam endless expanses of David Lynchian cookie cutter housing tracts.


The film definitely has the taste of an urban legend about it with its premise of an unrelenting supernatural stalker that victims acquire as a sort of otherworldly sexually transmitted disease. It’s a slow burn of a horror movie – long on the dread and suspense and short on jump scares and gore. And the art direction is gorgeous, not just for a low budget horror film but for any picture. The colors are surprisingly bright and saturated and the production deliberately does not anchor the film to a particular time or place but builds a sense of disorienting déjà vu.


The feeling of aimless teenage boredom is so palpable in the film. It’s the gorgeous incidental moments that the camera captures like our heroine tearing up blades of grass distractedly while describing her plight to friends or the way she primps for a date that gradually pull you into the world. It’s a rare film that feels both incredibly real and incredibly surreal at the same time and that unsettles the viewer much more deeply than any gore drenched torture porn ever could.


It also struck my viewing companion as an incredibly novel trope to have the heroine of the film be strongly believed and supported by her gang of friends even when her claims sound both bizarre and unprovable at first. The bonds between the teens and the sexual politics and longing feel very real and familiar. Minus the ever morphing supernatural stalker, this movie could have been a sensitive coming of age meditation.


This is a total must-see for anyone with a love of horror and suspense and it may even win new fans to the genre. Like last year’s equally stunning Babadook, It Follows feels more art house than horror in tone but still delivers on the shivers.