Director: David Robert Mitchell
Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi
How does one define a good horror film? It is a film which transcends the clichés of the genre, or renders fear without cheap scares or gore, has well defined characters backed up by good acting, and a plot that holds your interest from beginning to end, and makes you talk about the film with your friends long after it is over. The new film 'It Follows' ticks every one of those checkboxes.
There are silences throughout the film, making the whole thing all the more unsettling
But those are not the real reasons why 'It Follows' is interesting. This is a movie that made some buzz at festivals, and was supposed to go straight to VOD (Video On Demand) just a month ago, but the acclaim was so high that it went on to release internationally, and now you get to see it here in India. This is a gigantic triumph for horror filmmaking and indie cinema in general. The last time such a phenomenon happened was when the original 'Paranormal Activity' hit theatres years ago.
But the point is, is the film, with so much buzz and acclaim behind it, worth all the hype? The answer is a simple 'maybe'. Directed by David Robert Mitchell, 'It Follows' is a wonderful throwback to the American horror films of the '80s. The concept is deliciously weird – a teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) falls for a young man, and when they end up having sex, he pads a chloroform napkin on her face. She wakes up a few hours later tied to a chair, and the boy informs her that there is a malevolent entity that keeps following people whenever they have sex, and the only way to ward it off is if they pass on the curse to someone else.
It's hokey at the onset, like an episode of 'The Twilight Zone', but it's the execution that matters. This is a beautifully directed horror movie. Director Mitchell swirls the camera around in long takes to escalate the sense of dread, making you inhale everything happening in the film. The scenes where the 'following' occur are hair-raisingly scary, in a fun way. There are silences throughout which make the whole thing all the more unsettling. Mitchell is also very good at exponential buildup of tension and doing away with unnecessary stuff - there isn't a single meandering scene that seems out of place.
A lot of credit goes into the detailing of the characters. These aren't a bunch of foolish teenagers running around screaming like dolts – they all have detailing. One of them is dressed up and talks like he is from the '80s, another is from the '90s, the third is from the 2000s and the final slacker is from a hipster future. Monroe at the centerpiece is a wonderful addition, after 'The Guest' and now 'It Follows', she's mastered the art of '80s scream queen throwback. There are more than a few underlying metaphors at work in the film, best dissected over drinks with your friends after watching the movie. If you're a horror film buff, what more could you possible want?