“I really like horror movies, but they have to be done right. Many of the ones released in theaters nowadays are rehashed cheap thrills. Not a lot new and exciting. Therefore, I tend to stay away unless I have specific reason to want to see something. Usually that just means that it somehow involves Eli Roth (or at the very least that he endorses it on Twitter). The other day, I’m reading Entertainment Weekly, as I typically do, and there was a review for this new horror film, It Follows. It started with the reviewer saying that he loves horror, but typically has to sit thru a bunch of crap to get to the good ones. Preacher, meet choir! He then went on to explain how the movie turns one of the most common horror tropes on its head (specifically the one where if you have sex, you die). And this was after a description of the first five minutes that which completely sold him on the film. Spoiler alert (not really): the first five min absolutely hooked me too.
This movie is literally the stuff of nightmares, by which I mean that writer/director David Robert Mitchell says that he based it on a recurring nightmare of his. We focus in on Jay, your typical beautiful girl next door. Cutting straight to the chase, she’s on the receiving end of a curse. “”It”” will follow her until it kills her or she passes “”It”” on. “”It”” can take on any form it wants. “”It”” moves slowly, but is smart and terrifying. The only way to pass “”It”” along is the same way “”It”” is received: sex. See what I mean about twisting the trope? If you have sex you die, but if you have sex again, you live. Although you might not live too long anyways. If Person A passes “”It”” to Person B who passes “”It”” to Person C, if Person C dies, “”It”” falls back to Person B, and back to A if B dies.
Besides the chilling and original story, Mitchell nailed every aspect of what makes a good horror film, setting the tone with all the right pieces. By the time we finally hit a small break in the suspense (which is necessary in order to later catch you off guard and hit you again), I realized I’d not just been sitting still, but my body had completely stiffened in my seat, tensing to brace myself. It was only then that I realized how dry my mouth was, yet I hadn’t even had the will to reach for my Ravenclaw Quidditch water bottle on the seat next to me. And I’m sure I won’t be the only person pointing this out, but the musical score was incredible. Just listening to it could be enough to scare the begeezus out of you.
It’s true, I do kinda allow myself to get a little more scared watching a movie (especially alone). Often times, I’ll be in the moment and freaked out, only to walk out of there and then realize how dumb it was and/or how safe I am. No, I’m not planning on going to the catacombs of Paris any time soon, or no I’m not gonna run back into the house with the killer, or whatever. But this time, I did walk out thinking (and in writing this still think) that it was brilliant. Also, it hit on one key point that makes something truly scary for me: the inability to run away. This is why I don’t typically find slasher films scary. You can always run far enough away. But similar to running from death in Final Destination, you can only go so far before it catches up.
Oh and I just checked Twitter. Eli Roth did endorse this film.
It Follows – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”