Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Horror
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Running Time: 100 Minutes
This review was requested by a friend and I decided that I would go in blind. I watched one trailer but read no reviews and no plot summaries. I generally prefer to watch movies this way, to ensure that I am not formulating a tainted opinion. Anyway, I didn’t know what to expect. The trailer was gritty and left much open to interpretation so I was excited to see what Mitchell had to present.
A group of friends (made up of sisters and their neighbours) are drawn into a suspense filled game of hide and seek after Jay (Maika Monroe) has a sexual encounter of the demonic kind. Jay sleeps with Hugh on their second date, blissfully unaware of the consequences. Hugh then drugs her, ties her to a wheelchair and takes her to what looks like an abandoned parking structure. Speaking quickly and making little sense, he tries to explain that he isn’t going to harm her and that he is sorry for what he has done but he needs her to understand that it will follow her until it gets to her. He emphasizes that the entity is slow but not stupid. It can only be passed from one person to another via sex (presumably unprotected) and that it will continue to follow the infected until it gets to them and kills them.
Jay is terrified and immediately reports the incident to the police. Over the next few days she sees something following her. It can take any form and will mimic loved ones or people who will make an impact on you personally, in order to get to you. Jay enlists the help of her friends, who stay with her, but are wholly ineffectual as they cannot see the entity. They help her nonetheless and come up with a plan to save her.
Performances & Special Effects
This was not the blood filled gore fest that people have come to expect from horror films, and in fact, I would say that this is very much a thriller rather than an out-and-out horror. As a result, the visual effects are few and not too gruesome. There is a shock image in the first few minutes but after that, it’s levitating objects and things (and people) being flung around. That said, I think that it was well done on that front. These effects are simple but often filmmakers don’t get it right.
The performances are great and each character/actor holds their own. I liked that they seems to have decent survival instincts and tried to remain logical in a very illogical situation. Jay was panicked and irrational at times but this was understandable considering that she was the only one able to see what was following her, and she was unable to defend herself.
I get the feeling that many people will not enjoy this movie because of the pace alone. Initially, it seems slow and laboured but I think that the pace is a great vehicle to highlight the slowness of the entity. It builds the tension continuously and by the end of the film you are listening for footsteps and watching for slow pedestrians in the background, along with the characters.
Together with the slower than usual pace, I liked that no-one knows exactly what it is. It could be a demon, a ghost, some other type of supernatural entity. The manner of death is not specified either, leaving the audience with bated breath in anticipation of what will happen. There are elements of Succubus lore in this film, as well as reminding me of Slender Man in terms of pace. I was confused at the start because is seemed like this film was set in the ’80s between the synth music, wardrobe and the buildings and houses. This was amplified by the cinematography and the panning shots used at various intervals. Turns out it was just Detroit. It suddenly all made sense.
The fact that Jay’s friends seem to believe her with little coaxing, and without being able to see the entity themselves, should seem far-fetched but after thinking about it, I realised that I would believe a friend who came to me with this scenario. Regardless of personal belief in the supernatural, I would understand that they believed that this was real and would help them, even if it was to disprove anything supernatural at play.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film but I can see how many people won’t. I think that it will boil down to personal taste but the story is great, the mystery intriguing and the entity disturbing. Again, this isn’t an outright horror but as a thriller, I think it worked. For people who don’t necessarily want the gore but want a bit of a scare, this would be a good compromise.
My Rating: 4/5
Buy It Follows at Amazon.com
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