Nineteen year old Jay meets a boy and has what she assumes will be nothing more than a casual sexual encounter. Quickly she realizes that this encounter could end her life in supernatural ways and she must decide to pass it on to another target or try to fight it.
“Where ever you are, it’s somewhere. Walking straight for you but it is walking. If you drive far enough you can buy yourself some time to think decide if you want to give it to somebody else.”
Finally! A horror movie warning about the serious dangers of STDs, sexually transmitted demons. I had concerns going into this film based solely on that premise however I was pleasantly surprised by the film as a whole. It focuses on building suspense, like the great classic horror films, instead of just trying to use blood splatter and gore to shock screams from the audience. The fact that we are dealing with a shapeshifting entity adds a layer of suspense throughout the entire film, even in the most mundane scenes, because literally anybody walking through the frame could suddenly reveal themselves as the one that follows. “It can look like someone you know or it can be a stranger in a crowd. Whatever helps it get close to you.” While watching this film make sure to consistently scan the background, at varying depths of field you can sometimes see the entity approaching its target. Sometimes it is so far in the background that it is nearly impossible to make out, which the director of the film has admitted was done intentionally so viewers would either miss it entirely, or question if it was or was not actually what they saw. This pulls viewers deeply into the story; now we, as viewers, are having to question every innocent extra walking anywhere in the frame.
The first major chase scene is filmed in a way that I find very artful. It has been slowed down to emphasize desperation, muting certain sounds while intensifying others and overlaying slow deep musical tones. They very much give off vibes of a classic nightmare we have almost all had; where we are frantically trying to get away and for whatever reason we are being held back.
Spoilers beyond this point.
Typically, horror movies based around a group of teens have some undeniably cheesy and unrealistic plan to get rid of whatever supernatural being has been terrorizing the group since shortly after the opening credits rolled. It Follows is absolutely no different. This is when the film began to undo everything I have loved to this point. The plan is to put the current target into a pool, surrounded by electrical equipment plugged into outlets, using this living human being as bait… standing in the middle of the pool filled with water. I’m certain that anybody with any brain activity can see why this is a horrible idea. The plan seems to have worked but in the age of remakes and sequels we must leave all movies open for a part two!
As for the ending, I watched the closing scene multiple times before making up my mind. The movie closes with our leading lady, Jay, and her lifelong best friend, Paul, walking along the side walk, hand in hand. As we already know at this point she “passed on” the one that follows to Paul. My initial conclusions lined up with an interview I read from director David Robert Mitchell. Between the happy couple, way off in the out of focus background, you can see a slow moving entity. The point of this is to show that these two have decided to enter into a relationship, passing the entity back and forth, and fighting if off together for as long as they both shall live.
No additional spoilers past this point.
Overall, I was impressed by this movie, enough so that I purchased it for my personal collection. I would highly recommend it, so long as you understand that like many new horror movies the ending will leave more to be desired. If they make a sequel I’m sure that I will watch it.
Kisses and Nightmares