This review contains spoilers. Do not read unless you have watched the film!!!
Last night I watched the film It Follows. I hadn’t watched the trailer. I hadn’t read the summary. I was just going off of a recommendation that I had to watch this film. And I can go ahead and say, without a doubt, that it’s the best horror film I’ll watch this year.
It starts off with a normal girl, getting ready for a date with a boy she recently met. During the date, he claims he sees a girl in a yellow dress at the back of the movie theater. Jay, his date, doesn’t see her. He gets up suddenly, claiming he doesn’t feel well, and they continue their date elsewhere. That’s the first clue that something’s off. But, Jay goes ahead and sleeps with him on the next date anyway. And so it all begins.
What makes this film so terrifying is the impending death, a constant, looming threat in the background. Not in a “jump out and get you” kind of way, or “there’s a monster out there and it might be hiding, waiting to get me.” No. It is always following. It walks slowly, but never stops. This is a threat that keeps you moving, nonstop. You can never sit still, because it will catch up. I loved that concept, and it was something new that I had never seen before. I LOVE horror films that introduce a new scare tactic that I’ve never seen. And this constant threat keeps the audience watching the background throughout the entire film, waiting and waiting and waiting, surveying every corner of the screen. The director manages to keep the audience participating and captivated from beginning to end- not an easy feat.
I also loved how present Jay’s friends were throughout the entire film. In too many horror films, something spooky or supernaturally unbelievable happens to the main character, and none of their friends believe them. They say, “yeah, right. Ok. Whatever.” And leave the main character to figure it out on their own. This is one of those films where what the main character is experiencing is highly unbelievable. Only she can see the presence that is following her. Only she is experiencing this. And while her friends don’t believe her in the start, they still support her. They get her in the car and drive her around. They sit up with her at night. They do whatever she asks, despite doubting what she says is happening. And that was such a real human response and felt so realistic to me. It really helped the film come to life. If I had a friend who was suffering and scared, I would be by their side in an instant, no matter what. It seemed so much more plausible than “friends” just shrugging off the main character’s concerns and fears, like is the case in so many horror films.
How I interpreted this film was the impending inevitability of death. You may be able to postpone it or escape it once or twice, but it’s always there. It follows you your whole life, with no escape. It will catch up to you sooner or later, and there’s nothing you can do about it. It doesn’t charge at you. It doesn’t appear suddenly in the middle of the night from under the bed. It’s just always there. Slowly approaching.
Others have interpreted the “curse” as representing an STD, or the AIDS movement. My roommates, who watched the film with me, agreed more with this interpretation, claiming that this film is the best birth control campaign out there. I have also seen people interpret it as the fear of adulthood and feeling like the world is out to get you and you are utterly alone during your transition from youth to adult. And that’s how you know that this film is so good. It got people talking. It’s open to creative interpretation. It has deeper meaning that isn’t plainly obvious to all. It’s subtly brilliant. And I’m sure there’s even more to the film that I’m missing, such as the constant presence of water, the black and white wardrobe at the end of the film, or even the curse taking on the shape of Jay’s father at the end, and taking on the shape of Greg’s mother when it killed him. (I’m going to continue to sleep on those. I just know there’s deeper meaning there).
Best scene of the film? The beach. Hands down. I was screaming at the tv and freaking out and the build-up in that scene was just perfect and terrifying.
Leave your thoughts on the film down below. I’d love to hear what everyone else thought of it/how they interpreted it. It Follows is now available to rent or buy on iTunes! But if you haven’t seen it yet, what the hell are you doing reading this?!