Review: It Follows with Maika Monroe

Undated Film Still Handout from It Follows. Pictures: Maika Monroe as Jay. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Icon Film Distribution. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.
Undated Film Still Handout from It Follows. Pictures: Maika Monroe as Jay. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Icon Film Distribution. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Now I’ve never been stalked by a ghost that can transform into people I know and love so it can kill me like a succubus, but if you currently are being stalked by a ghost that can transform into people you know and love so it can kill you like a succubus then I apologise if I don’t seem to understand the pain you are going through by reviewing a movie.

I am fairly sure it’s pretty to clear to everyone that I am terrified of commitment, it took me six years after I turned 18 to get a phone contract, after I rationalised that if I didn’t want it I could pay it off pretty quickly. Accidentally impregnating someone was even higher up the list than buying a house, falling in love or telling a credit card company in the middle of Bow Street that ‘Yes, I do in fact have 30 seconds to spare’. It Follows introduces the concept of being able to impregnate someone with a curse, a curse that causes you to be stalked by the horror film favourite of ‘something’. It is only touched upon briefly what will actually happen if ‘it’ catches up with you but one victim was left looking like a clothes-horse that had been set up by a drunk person on a beach at 2am.

It Follows reminds me of early universal films such as The Mummy or Frankenstein as the titular ‘It’ merely walks behind the person it has decided to origami into a character from the Japanese alphabet at a very slow pace. Unlike these early films the threat seems to be avoided simply by moving slightly faster than a very slow pace, but the It has a way of disguising itself as whoever it feels like, be it a naked woman, an old lady, your father or anything that could walk forwards and continues to walk while you are asleep. Sometimes dressed up as you so no one thinks it’s weird if it goes into your bedroom. It has an extraordinary immune system and can walk through the cold all night without sneezing, as well as taking a bullet to the face without crying or dying.

Maika Monroe plays Jay, a beautiful young girl who seems to be particularly attractive to her neighbours creepy kids and her own friends. She dates a nice guy for a while and waits for the right moment to sleep with him before he injects her full of demon bait. He very politely explains to Jay that he had this sexually transmitted demon in him and tells her to sleep with someone quickly so that she may rid herself of it. Her friend Paul offers his help, as he has been dying to ‘help’ her for quite a long time but Jay chooses someone else and implies it’s because Paul doesn’t have a lot of opportunities to pass it on. It is remarkably well paced and had my attention most of the time, despite there not being a lot of moments of threat, the perpetual impending appearance of ‘something’ really gets under your skin, it is a supremely well directed and written horror movie.

Rich Vreeland is responsible for the amazing electronic pulsing soundtrack, which really reminded me of old 1970s horror trailers, but in a nice way. The whole film felt nostalgic and yet out of time, it seemed like it was in the seventies or eighties yet everyone had mobile phones. David Robert Mitchell seemingly having a love for older horror films so much as to have the characters watch 1930s horror films and attend a screening of something at one point that had a musical accompaniment. I even found the STD metaphor a very old-school gothic horror framing device, vampires for example are prime innuendo. Plot wise it is similar to the Ring except sex instead of VHS and tone-wise it felt similar to The Guest by Adam Wingard and Simon Barett, which also starred Maika Monroe and was one of my favourite underrated films of 2014.

Not a masterpiece as some people would claim, but an absolute gem in the land of horror films. I have a sensor in my brain that causes my eyes to roll and my mouth to exhale sarcastically while watching horror films most of the time, but this one was different. It wasn’t totally original, in fact it was very unapologetic about its homage to various films, there were clichés and “Why doesn’t she just…” moments, but ultimately very entertaining and a lot better than I expected, if you don’t like horror movies, and you have been genuinely and uncomfortably terrified of Buffy episodes then you will not enjoy, otherwise it is worth seeing and is out on February 27.