Film Review: It Follows

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I’m a little late to the show (yes, again! I know that this one is from 2014!) with a film review, but here is one worth mentioning. It Follows is a creepy, disturbing tale about teen sex and its consequences.

The plot goes like this: An evil entity attaches itself to someone after they had sex with the previous person they had attached itself to. The entity follows that person until they are touched by the entity and they die, all sexed up by the entity. And therein lies the big logical weakness of the plot. How the hell did this process start? If the entity hunts down and kills someone, then why hasn’t the evil thing finished its business by finally getting to the person it originally attached to? Even considering that once the last person you had sex with is followed and killed, it turns its attention back to you. I mean, how the hell did this thing start, and how the hell is it not finished? Then again, looking beyond this little hitch helped me enjoy the film. For the most part, horror is not based upon logic.

Okay, hmm, that part is out of the way. Let’s get down to the director and actors. The direction by David Robert Mitchell is crisp and compelling. He doesn’t use a lot of jump scares, which is good, and he concentrates mainly upon the theme of death by sex. He’s got a good eye for disturbing images, slow building suspense, and creepy scenery, all while maintaining a firm grasp of his actors and their actions. He is a director that you will be hearing much more about in the future, given the promise shown in this film.

The actors are all fairly unknown, but all good. Maika Monroe plays her role as Jay with the sense of fear and trepidation needed, given that anytime she has sex, she is sentencing them to a horrible death. Keir Gilchrist plays Paul, the sad sack love interest, who has a kind of pathetic pining for Jay. The entire cast commits to the material, even though it all feels pretty thin.

Now let’s get back to what the film really seems to be about: sex. Jay has a weird sexual encounter with someone she half-heartedly dated, and he warns her afterward that an entity will follow her until it touches her and kills her. So after this she begins having sex to protect herself from the entity, putting off the inevitable. Hold on, this is not a titillating ride for the sex-crazed.

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Even the initial sexual encounter seems joyless and unfulfilling. It seems as though she has sex with the first guy out of obligation, like it was expected since they had a date. The sex was as unsexy as you could ever imagine. In fact, all of the sex in the film is tainted with the same nagging lack of enthusiasm and sense of foreboding. I know, I realize that when she is performing a sex act, she is literally fucking killing them. Even a biological response of pleasure would have been a welcome addition, but then again, maybe that is the point.

These characters are all school age, but you don’t get to see the parents much at all. By design, I know, because those authority figures would mess up the framework of the film and add a dimension that would be difficult to explain.

So ultimately the film is wrapped in the guise of an evil entity out to kill you, it also hints about fear of diseases, sexual repression, guilt, shame, and societal expectations, all wrapped up in a neat and tidy, and extremely uncomfortable, horror story.

So Deadies, if you haven’t seen this one yet, give it a try if only to see how the director and actors pull together to put out a decent little film about the horrors of sex. 7 out of 10 headstones.

I got to see it through Netflix. Yeah, it’s a couple years old. So shoot me. I’m working on catching up on my movies.

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