‘It Follows’ is easily one of my favourite modern horrors to date, as the film utilises some amazing cinematography by Mike Gioulakis, alongside an extremely eerie atmosphere and some decent performances. All tied-in perfectly with an original and engaging story, resulting in a film that’s both very memorable, and very tense throughout.
After a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, teenager: ‘Jay’ finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone (or something) is following her. Faced with this burden, ‘Jay’ and her friends must find a way to escape their new nightmare, that seems to always be just a few steps behind…
Mostly due to the direction by David Robert Mitchell (The Myth of the American Sleepover, Under the Silver Lake) the film feels very polished throughout, as every scene usually plays out very slowly, always using the screen-time to build more tension, which I quite enjoyed. I also found the underlining themes of the film very interesting, as the film’s narrative subtly explores ideas of sexual diseases through its unique plot. However, one element of David’s direction I personally don’t like is the lack of any specific time-period for the film’s setting. As although the majority of the film does feel like a classic 1980s monster flick, the film constantly shows many modern devices and cars, in addition to a variety of old films on ‘Jay’s TV. Making the film feel very inconsistent with itself, despite this being an intentional decision.
As a cast of mostly unknown actors, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Lili Sepe and Olivia Luccardi all give decent performances here, as while nothing truly phenomenal of note, all the characters do feel as if they have chemistry with each other, with Maika Monroe being the obvious stand-out of course. As although her character doesn’t get much development, she portrays ‘Jay’ quite well, coming-off as a mostly innocent and likeable teenager.
The cinematography by Mike Gioulakis is nothing short of brilliant, especially in regards to many other horrors. As aside from a few too many hand-held shots, the film constantly uses the camera to build tension and paranoia throughout the entirety of its tight runtime. As in addition to filling the film with a variety of beautiful shots (many of which contain large amounts of movement). The film also uses plenty of P.O.V. shots to see through ‘Jay’s eyes, placing the audience in the terrifying position of the protagonist themselves. ‘it Follows’ is also mainly using wide-angle lenses, which according to David Robert Mitchell, gave the film a more expansive, intimidating feel.
One of my favourite aspects of the film is definitely the original score by ‘Disasterpeace’, as this synth score (which was composed in only three weeks) really lends itself well to the film’s eerie atmosphere, creating an original soundtrack which is just as tense and chaotic as it is memorable. This does fall back on the problem of the film not being set within the 80s again however, as this original score would fit in perfectly, especially with the two tracks: ‘Heels’ and ‘Title’.
As opposed to many other modern-horrors, ‘It Follows’ has a noticeable lack of jump-scares, as the film is usually in favour of attempting to use simple yet creepy visuals hidden within the background of shots, which really gives the film a very fresh feel. ‘It Follows’ also separates itself from many other modern-horrors by having many of the scenes involving the creature take place during the daytime and/or in locations such as a bright sandy beach or even ‘Jay’s home, locations many would think to be safe for our characters.
I truly enjoy ‘It Follows’ from beginning-to-end, as the film is a genuine horror experience which takes risks and doesn’t simply feel like more of the same ideas we have seen before. As the fantastic cinematography and original score help create a film that we keep any horror fan engaged in this thrilling story. An 8/10 overall, as while the film may not be entirely flawless, I really do hope more films within this genre can succeed as well as this one does.