It has been five days since I saw ‘It Follows’ and it is only now that I have the nerve to write about it. It is terrifying, haunting brilliance. Every now and again, a horror comes out that reminds you the genre still has plenty of tricks up its sleeve. The concept is chilling enough in itself but combined with David Robert Mitchell’s master class in suspense filmmaking, It Follows is a landmark horror film.
After having sex with a man she had been dating, Jay finds herself relentlessly pursued by It. It being a shape-shifting ghoul that takes on human form. It’s seen as an old woman, a urinating teenager, a little boy, a tall man, all of whom walk slowly towards her, as if in a trance. They have the cold doggedness of a Terminator and the frightening sinister quality of a zombie in Night of the Living Dead. Every person could be the thing.
Combined with a brilliant retro score, Mitchell creates the most unsettling feeling. Unusually for a horror film nowadays, It Follows is at its scariest when nothing is happening. You know the thing is coming, and so the audience is filled with trepidation throughout. Jay is the only one that can see the demon, so even if she locks herself in a room with friends, she remains in danger. The threat is omniscient and Jay feels totally helpless to stop it.
It is difficult to explain why It Follows is so terrifying. It is partly due to its eerie quality and partly due what is left unexplained. Where did the demon originate? Why does it only leave after sex? It is both ridiculous and frightening. A couple of negative points though, mainly to do with logic. Firstly, Jay spends a lot of time sleeping, something which any sane person would surely find impossible under the circumstances. Also, if the demon is only capable of walking, then she should probably just go to the airport and get on the next flight to Hawaii.
But this doesn’t take away from how scary It Follows is. It separates itself from the quiet, quiet, LOUD trend in horror filmmaking, instead relying on creepiness and suspense. It stays with you after you leave the cinema and you start looking at people differently. It is the scariest film since Paranormal Activity and hopefully more horror films will follow its lead in the future.