Thursday, April 2, 2015

It Follows [USA, 2015]

Nine Things About the Movie It Follows

1. Don't let the basic plot of the movie fool you: this movie is a surprisingly effective piece of low budget, slow-burn horror.

2. It's about a girl that has sex with a guy, and is then stalked by a mysterious entity that wants to kill her. Yeah, it sounds absurd, and maybe it is, but just go with it.

3. The movie isn't really about the surface plot. It is an ode to childhood innocence, as well as an assault on childhood innocence.

4. There are a few inventive and effective jump scares, and the movie continually cranks up the paranoia and dread. Very few movies have given me as much anxiety as this one.

5. It's hard to set the film in an exact time and space - it's full of anachronistic details. Like, there are modern things like cell phones in the movie, but nobody ever seems to watch anything modern on TV. The clothes worn by the characters are a mishmash of styles and decades. Combine all that with a strangely beautiful synth soundtrack, and the events occur in a very dream-like atmosphere.

6. There are tantalizing cultural and psychological tidbits riddled throughout the movie like machine gun holes. The most obvious is the character who keeps pulling out her e-book reader disguised as a pink makeup holder, from which she reads aloud Dostoyevsky's bleak classic, "The Idiot".

7. This is the second film by director David Robert Mitchell. I don't think he had enough money to make all the effects look like they were supposed to, but he is earning a well-deserved reputation as a visual stylist.

8. Some people think the movie is literally about a demon. Others think it's a metaphor for the dangers of sex or intimacy. I don't think those interpretations are wrong, but they are really superficial. People with those interpretations missed most of the film. The real horror is not from the relentlessly stalking killer. Nor is it from symbolized, interpersonal trust issues. The real horror of the film is existential.

9. After the movie ended, I left the theater and started back to my car. And walking down the sidewalk, in public, the final piece of the movie's puzzle swung into place for me. I understood it on a deep level (perhaps deeper than Mitchell intended) and I just wanted to go home and curl up into a ball. Just like the girl in the movie did.