By David Nowacki
Dir. David Robert Mitchell
VANCOUVER — Let no one ever tell you that the title to this movie is misleading. The titular It follows throughout the movie, and thoroughly. David Robert Mitchell gets good mileage out of taking the old classic ‘horny teens haunted by a murderous ghost’ schtick and mixing it up with a venereal twist. Haunted junk! Now that’s scary. The basic premise is that It, which only those afflicted can see, Follows you, at a very leisurely walking pace, to come murder you. You become afflicted by bumping uglies with someone who is afflicted, thus contracting the sexually transmitted ghost (STG). Nineteen-year-old lady Jay (Maika Monroe) catches the junk-ghost from a hunky Josh Jackson lookalike (Jake Weary) and attempts to get help from her sister and friends to stop the ghost from doing its ghost thing on her.
It Follows, while starting with a tried-and-true ghost story premise, manages to differentiate itself from its forebears in a handful of ways. For instance, the teens in the movie are not eminently hateable morons, and actually seem to be people, instead of the usual moving mannequins horror movies tend to employ. Unlike the slapdash direction of most of its ilk, director David Robert Mitchell’s take on the genre is compelling and quite beautiful. It‘s pace matches that of its monster, steady and purposeful, nicely illustrating the horror of a plodding, inevitable death. It‘s also quite beautifully shot. The camera work deftly captures the nigh-abandoned suburbs of Detroit. The decaying suburbia provides a perfect backdrop to a horror film. There is also a fair bit of symbolism in the movie, almost all of which went completely over my head. One of the characters quotes Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot several times, there are few lines from any adult in the entire movie, and the ramifications of giving into carnality all seems to point to some greater meaning. But I’ll be goddamned if I know what it is. Don’t sleep with strangers, your junk will get a ghost? Other than that, it was mostly just like other horror movies. Teens get haunted, teens scramble trying to find a solution to the problem (phantasmal restraining order, anyone?), some teens die.
It Follows does a lot of things right. Its pacing, cinematography, and non-awful characters make it a hell of a lot more watchable than your average teeny spooker. And if you’re more in tune with deep meanings and subtext than I am (almost guaranteed you are), then I’m sure there’s a whole extra layer of goodness.
It Follows releases nationwide on March 13th.BC, British Columbia, It Follows