Fans of John Carpenter are in for a treat with this interesting homage to his work. It Follows echoes his best movies visually, aurally and thematically.
Plot wise this is scary campfire story horror, with teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) stalked by a demonic presence after she loses her virginity – a presence she is told will kill her unless she has sex with someone else and “passes on” the curse.
This demonic presence can appear as anyone but can only be seen by the person under the curse, as a figure walking slowly and inextricably towards them. They can flee this presence, but of course then they rest, and the demon catches up. Also if the demon catches them and kills them, it then goes back to stalk the previous person who was cursed.
Director David Robert Mitchell helms the piece well, makes good use of locations, and milks maximum menace from simple shots of people walking slowly in the corners of the frame. Performances are pretty good too, as is the use of sound (always an essential factor in a horror movie). The Carpenter-esque electronic score provides the icing on a pretty effective piece of work.
I know Christians often object to horror movies, sometimes on grounds of sex, nudity, violence and bad language – of which there is a fair bit here. But if you can see past the blood and boobs there’s a long tradiition in the genre of sex equals death. Here that idea is given an interesting spin as the demon that follows can be seen as a metaphor for sexually transmitted disease, especially in the way the entity works backwards through the sexual chain like a domino effect. Additionally, on a spiritual level, this could be taken as a metaphor for what Christians call “soul-ties”, in which one remains spiritually tied to one’s sexual partner, whoever else they have slept with, and so on. In that respect, It Follows amounts to an abstinence endorsement of sorts, something Christians ought to applaud.
On the other hand, I seriously doubt that was the conscious intent behind the film. In spite of such spiritual ponderings, this really amounts to little more than a blast of disreputable genre fun for those with an inclination towards this sort of thing. It Follows is hardly a groundbreaking masterpiece, but it works fairly well in a Ringu meets John Carpenter’s Halloween sort of way.