Movie Review: ‘IT FOLLOWS’ Will Follow You Long After It’s Over

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Preston Barta // Editor

IT FOLLOWS | 107 min. | Rated R
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Cast: Maika Monroe, Jake Weary, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe and Ruby Harris

From the moment IT FOLLOWS opens to the last frame you have an eerie feeling that something isn’t right. The music hints at the inevitable, the camera pans to show what may be lurking, and the actors’ interactions with one another cause the audience to forget that at any moment it will appear.

Writer-director David Robert Mitchell (THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER) molds something together that has long since been absent from the horror genre– something that is restrained and toys with your imagination. He takes an entirely plausible occurrence, such as an STD, but instead of a few pesky bumps you get a supernatural entity calculating your every move– a simple yet effective premise.

Resembling the thread of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and HALLOWEEN, the tension of TERMINATOR, and the style of DRIVE, the film uses the complexity of today’s youth as a canvas for some expertly-crafted, psycho-sexual drama. It plays a waiting game and lets scenes breathe. Many of today’s horror films neglect to revel in this, relying on too many jump scares and failing to realize that ultimately it’s what you don’t see that is utterly terrifying. This is one of the many areas where IT FOLLOWS succeeds.

Since last year’s THE GUEST, we knew Maika Monroe’s career would be one to follow, and again, she brings such a fresh and strong presence to her role. Her performance at first may seem shy and unassured, yet as we move along you realize that it’s very much her character, who is not at all prepared for what she is to face. Monroe and the rest of the cast give vigorous performances, giving the film a great sense of credibility as well as making it a fun hang-out movie.

Jake Weary and Maika Monroe star in IT FOLLOWS. Photo courtesy of RADiUS-TWC.

Jake Weary and Maika Monroe star in IT FOLLOWS. Photo courtesy of RADiUS-TWC.

The sheer horror of IT FOLLOWS’ mix of suspense, style, and atmosphere extends all the way to Rich Vreeland’s haunting score. Its synthesized, artful sound design and contrasting flavors are dead giveaways that Vreeland (aka Disasterpeace) had a hand in the music, as are the carefully chosen motifs. Vreeland (FEZ) uses his sounds with remarkable flexibility here, conveying apprehension and vulnerability on some tracks, and almost sinister determination on others. It’s easily one of the best scores in years.

IT FOLLOWS personifies everything that scares us. If you’ve grown tired of all the mindless horror flicks, then this is exactly the stomach-churning scare-fest you must witness. It will have you frozen with fear and stuck to your seat, not wanting to move. It will follow you long after you exit the cinema.

IT FOLLOWS opens today.

Related Articles:

Our interviews with writer-director David Robert Mitchell, star Jake Weary and composer Disasterpeace.

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.