July 13, 2015

It Follows

David Robert Mitchell, 2015

It Follows is one of those films that upon describing it to someone you get a response that sounds something like "that sounds like a stupid idea for a film." "Cant they come up with anything better than that nowadays?". "Sounds like another cheesy horror premise."

In reality, if you were to describe a film that is basically like a ghost STD chasing around the cursed victim, you might spark a lot of interest. Especially with movie snobs. And a film with that premise could easily be a pile of shit in the wrong hands. But fortunately, it's in the right hands here. Mitchell is able to create an interesting film that pays tribute to the genre with a retro late 70's campy feel with fresh touches. High school heartbreak in a crummy horror hipster town. The creepy elements in pursuit of main character Jay Height (Maika Monroe) make an impression. Sort of like in Gregory Hoblit's 1998 film Fallen (that starred Denzel Washington and John Goodman), they can change form. In fact, the film is basically a hybrid creation of Fallen and Romero's Night of the Living Dead. There are a handful of the forms that are bound to be stuck in your brain for a little while. The synthwave score (provided by Disasterpeace) only adds to the tension, and you spend the duration of the film wondering if Jay is going to be able to pass this curse on to another unlucky victim or perish herself.

Mitchell proves that you can still put a creative story on the screen with a limited budget ($2M here) and keep it interesting. The small budget certainly adds to the feel of the movie. A big budget with a ton of CGI would have homogenized the movie to the point it would lose all of it's grittiness. Using the backdrop of the slummy Detroit suburbs only added to the charm of the film. The city itself basically becomes a character here. One of the only complaints is that Mitchell chooses to go in a direction toward the end of the film that seems to pay tribute to Let the Right One In in terms of setting but it doesn't have nearly the same impact. But overall Mitchell manages to make an engaging film with limited resources. Let's just hope the big studios don't get a hold of this and churn out two or three awful sequels.

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