Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Film Review: It Follows (2014)

It Follows (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No

"If the actual story and characters were on par with the horror elements of the film, this would have been a masterpiece."

After a sexual encounter, Jamie "Jay" Height (Maika Monroe) is pursued by a supernatural entity...

It Follows is a horror film with an interesting concept. The story starts off a bit slow, taking time to introduce us to the generic indie movie cast of characters. Eventually, Jay has sex with her boyfriend, Hugh. Except, Hugh is not really his name and he has "passed on" a supernatural entity that will pursue her to the ends of the earth – and, that's exactly what happens. So, Jay, with the help of her sister and friends, tries to outrun the entity. It really started to feel like the plot was being stretched thin during the second half of the movie. It becomes a bit more repetitive and the pacing becomes inconsistent. The ending was also disappointing. I wasn't expecting a full-blown explanation, but this just sort of ended. It failed to leave an impression.

It Follows is a hit-and-miss horror film. First of all, the characters are dull. This is the same old 'quirky' and 'introspective' characters you find in most indie horror movies. I suppose the introspection gives them some personality, but these people often don't feel like people. Some of the crap these characters spew sounds like it was taken of Tumblr or an Instagram quotes page. So, although they're tolerable, the characters hardly help the film. And, like I said, it felt too long for its own good. By the end, it felt like characters purposely started making stupid choices simply to prolong the film. The entire sequence in the pool, for example, was stupid. I won't spoil the film, but it just didn't make sense to me.

It Follows has a great concept, though. Fortunately, the direction is also strong. This is a unique and often frightening film. It's simple – an entity that can take any human form and walks towards you – but it is effective. This, dare I say, brilliant concept creates suspense and paranoia on its own. Said suspense and paranoia are only amplified by the eerie visuals. Some scenes can truly make your skin crawl. There are even a few jolting jump-scares tossed in there for good measure. If the actual story and characters were on par with the horror elements of the film, this would have been a masterpiece.

Maika Monroe does well as the lead. Lili Sepe was also good. All-in-all, I didn't have any issues with the cast. The film looks great. Like the rest of the film, the soundtrack was a bit hit-or-miss. It often worked very well in conjuring dread and suspense. Then... it occasionally sounded like something from a fantasy RPG from the 90s. It still sounds good, but it doesn't blend well with the film. It creates a conflicting atmosphere. The film is written and directed by David Robert Mitchell. I think Mitchell is a stellar horror director. He's also a great 'idea man.' His writing, however, could use work. The characters could use more personality, the plot could be fine-tuned, and his finale should have been drastically changed. He knew how to start it, but he couldn't finish.

Overall, It Follows is a good horror movie. It's a genuinely frightening and entertaining movie. However, the characters were generic, the pacing was inconsistent, and the ending was disappointing. I understand why there's a vocal fan base for the film, but it just didn't resonate with me. It's worth a rental, though.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, sex and nudity.

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