It Follows (2014)

Like a lot of teen slasher horror movie story lines, It Follows is a cautionary tale about the dangers that befall sexually active young women. Basically a keep-it-in-your-pants-or-bad-things-will-follow-you-around-until-you-die kind of movie. In a lot of horror movies, sexually active women are marked for death but we could expand that to society’s grossly differing expectations and prescribed gender roles for young women versus young men. Anyhoo…

It Follows is the story of college student Jay who, after a sexual encounter, is followed by a terrifying presence. It takes the form of different people who follow her at a walking speed with the intention of killing Jay if caught. Jay and her small band of friends (a funny group, and immediately likable) attempt to track the source of the entity to try to break the curse.

This is a minimalist horror movie with some nice throw-backs to other films in the genre. The foley in one particular scene (high-heels tap-tapping in an echo-y hallway) reminds me of late-70s/early-80s horror films like Prom Night (the original, starring scream queen extraordinaire Jamie Lee Curtis). Reinforcing this feeling is a soundtrack that pays homage to John Carpenter movie music with heavy synthesizer use, but is considerably more stylized and less over-the-top.

There are so many things I enjoy about this movie, much of which is the Detroit setting. It is particularly gloomy and menacing and contributes largely to a feeling of isolation, anxiety and alienation. Jay and her friends are alone. We are alone. You are alone.

If you don’t like or appreciate a good psychological horror then this film isn’t for you, but, if you’re like me and LOVE tension and the speculation of what ‘it’ could be then watch this movie right now.

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