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


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

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.