Cast – Maika Monroe, Jake Weary, Daniel Zovatto, Keir Gilchrist, Lili Sepe, Olivia Luccardi; Director – David Robert Mitchell
Rating – **
Unspooling with its own logical fare, “It Follows” is a pretty badly gummed up psychological thriller that is muddled with its own ambiguity. Nevertheless, it has a good dosage of horror tropes.
That said, the narration begins with a prelude of a girl in micro shorts, white top and red coloured pencil heel shoes running out of her house in panic, as if being chased. The scene ends with her being killed.
And then all of a sudden, the focus shifts on to Jay (Maika Monroe), a teenager, excited about her date with an enigmatic acquaintance, Hugh (Jake Weary). After an aborted film show, the date concludes with consensual sex in the rear seat of Hugh’s car, in the back yard of a high-rise building. While Jay is still in the car relishing the moment, Hugh assaults her. The attack is unwarranted.
At this point the narration gets intriguing. Soon before dropping her home in a devastated state, Hugh explains to her that he was forced to do what he did.
Later Jay experiences bouts of being stalked in an intimidating way by random people. Some seem almost normal and others like malevolent zombies with the intention to kill her.
Believing her traumatic experience, her friends; Kelly, Yara and Paul along with neighbour Greg, who has a soft corner for Jay, team up to help her. They trace Hugh and learn that he has actually transmitted a curse to her. The only way she can rid herself of this hallucination is by having sex with someone else.
What follows is Jay’s dilemma when her friends Greg and Paul offer to bail her out.
The script lacks depth in terms of explaining the curse- its origin and aftermath. These blanks if filled could have become a compelling tale. Also the final act is inconclusive.
On the performance front, Monroe is convincing as Jay. She renders Jay’s internal as well as external struggles that include; dismay, shock and revulsion with brilliant gusto. She is ably supported by; Keir Gilchrist as Paul her childhood friend and first love, Jake Weary as Hugh, Daniel Zovatto as her concerned fearless neighbour, Lili Sepe and Olivia Luccardi as her friends Kelly and Yara.
Apart from the performances, the film stands out because of its visual impact. While the production quality seems decent with an exception of a few poor continuity shots, the scenes are languidly paced with excellent scary moments caused by sudden loud noises and jump scares.
Director David Robert Mitchell successfully creates the look and feel of early 1980s era and an atmosphere of dread with bright and brilliant camera work by Mike Gioulakis.
Shot with wide-angled lenses the film has a lustrous feel. The ambience and action is well captured with slow pondering shots. There are times when the camera pans 360 degrees and you wait with baited breath for some untoward occurrences. Also a mix of shots, both lengthy and short is a stylish devise that keeps you hooked.
“It Follows” is a metaphor for sexually transmitted disease that may or may not lure you.