It Follows (2014) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

It Follows (2014) Review

Horrorific content by TE Simmons on August 19th, 2021 | Movie Review | Cursed, Supernatural, College, Teen

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It’s about a being followed by an unhurried supernatural golem which takes on many guises.

It Follows was written and directed by David Robert Mitchell (who also wrote/directed Under the Silver Lake) and stars Maika Monroe (from Tau), Keir Gilchrist (The Good Neighbor), and Olivia Luccardi (Shoplifters of the World and Kappa Kappa Die).

The rules of engagement are straightforward, but every exit is blocked, and every escape is frustrated.

It Follows Review

It Follows is a bold, challenging, and influential movie. It has generated a collection of critical film essays, and it continues to inspire fresh critical approaches to understanding and appreciating its achievements.

It Follows is also a deeply frightening film. The cast is composed of a group of close-knit, kindhearted teens. The authentic warmth of their mutual interlocking friendships is reminiscent of Stranger Things and Stand by Me. At the center of the cast is Jamie “Jay” Height, a dreamy, intelligent, and sensitive scream queen who likes nothing better than a serene float in her above-ground swimming pool. 

After a backseat tryst with Jamie’s boyfriend, he chloroforms her and binds her to a chair. As she regains consciousness, he explains the curse he has given her: “This thing… it’s gonna follow you. Somebody gave it to me. I passed it to you…back in the car.” 

Next, he outlines the cure: “You can get rid of it. Sleep with someone else as soon as you can. Just pass it on. If it gets you, it’ll come after me.” The monster – the It – is simply a series of slow-footed humans in various guises, but always in states of undress. 

Accordingly, Jay outmaneuvers the monster and attempts to infect a victim of her own, but the cure fails if the newly cursed lover is overtaken by the monster. Repeat attempts may be necessary. 

Playing by the rules mandates that the Jay simply engage in sexual intercourse to stay in the game. Some critics see in the film a puritanical condemnation of sex (coitus = death). Others see it as an allegory for STDs (mating = disease). Still others claim the film is about the cycle of abuse – victims visiting abuse on new victims and so on. 

These are all defensible interpretations. But the film’s quotations from Dostoevsky’s The Idiot confirm that the theme is much more straightforward. It’s about death. A shambling slow-footed, but relentless killer who is easy to outrun – but eventually, it catches everyone? That’s death.

The film’s ending is ambiguous. Perhaps the way to defeat death is via self-sacrificial love. Not sex as a means to an end, but as redemptive devotion. Other viewers may see something simpler, baser, or darker. But I see in It Follows more daylight than doom.

Worth Watching?


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