A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Remember, kids, always practice safety and use protection.
If you need something a little more striking to drill the message into your stubborn, naive skulls, watch David Roberts Mitchell’s latest, “It Follows”; the stylistic modern horror picture that packs a punch without the outdated, overused cliché conventions of the genre.
Where it does borrow from conventional aspects of other horror pictures, “It Follows” tends to bend, skew and almost satirise to the point of intrepid self-awareness, how refreshing!
So, is it the ‘game changer’ for the horror genre we’ve all been so eagerly holding out for?
Jay Height (Maika Monroe) is your typical blonde, attractive horror movie girl.
Following a frisky evening in the back seat of a car, Jay awakens to find herself strapped to a chair, being informed about a new supernatural, shape shifting creature that will proceed to follow her wherever she goes, when will these characters learn?!
The S.T.D (sexually transmitted demon) takes the form of people that Jay knows as well as strangers on the street. After convincing her close friends about the traumatic, paranormal being, they do everything they can to avoid and conquer the formidable force.
“It Follows” is clever in its intention to avoid cliché and boldly change up the horror genre with deliberate hesitance to jump-scare the audience to death. The film is definitely about the slow burn that leads up to major scares, but the payoff doesn’t strike as big of a chord as it could have.
There is an ever-present and ominous sense of danger throughout the film, and this is brought out partly through the wonderful performance of Monroe, but “It Follows” just needs more substance and depth within the narrative.
In terms of style and aesthetic, “It Follows” shares some similarities with 2014’s “The Guest” directed by Adam Wingard. Although the stories and genres are different, the stylistic cinematography and score (as well as the presence of Maika Monroe) are very much alike, which is a major positive.
The two films also shared a nostalgic 80’s sheen that harks back to the classics of the era. Be it the neon colour pallet sprinkled within the brooding darkness or the synthesised soundtrack, bold and strong tropes of the past re-emerge and add a lot to the atmospheric tension.
As far as Maika Monroe’s performances are concerned within the two films, her efforts in “The Guest” are more impressive for me.
Her efforts as a leading character definitely impressed in “It Follows” and it has undoubtedly set her off on a prosperous path; her character in “The Guest” just seemed a little bit more fleshed out.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to commend the supporting cast embers as much as Monroe. The cast predominantly consists of average performances that eventually become interchangeable and slightly mundane at points.
The efforts of Keir Gilchrist, Lili Spede, Olivia Luccardi and Daniel Zovatto aren’t bad; they just don’t bring much to the table like diverse, interesting characters usually do.
Supporting characters add so much to the protagonist, especially a trauma-stricken horror film lead like Jay. Without the correct support in a film, it’s very difficult to engage an audience and make them care about you as a vulnerable protagonist.
Thankfully, Maika Monroe is able to hold her own and succeed independently which says a lot of her abilities as an actress.
The film is not without major misfires. A disappointing and unresolved pool scene doesn’t achieve what it set out to do and sadly hinders rather than helps the story along.
There are several unexplained story elements that don’t fit in with the film’s incisive expository structure. The idea behind “it” is clever, as is the way in which it’s brought into the story, however it appears that too much has been bitten off and not all of it can be chewed.
“It Follows” doesn’t reach the level of hype and intrigue surrounding it from al the way back in mid 2014. The story is clever and the idea is commendable, but it falls short in too many places to justify the immense excitement around it.
Maika Monroe shoes in the leading role, but sadly this, along with a handful of production qualities, is one the few redeeming aspects of the film. It doesn’t redefine the genre, but it certainly sores over the majority of found-footage pictures out today by trying to avoid banality wherever possible.