Tuesday, March 31, 2015

It Follows

***1/2 out of ****

It Follows is to horror movies, what Drive is to car chase action movies: A pleasant deviation. Sure, it contains a lot of the standard elements – or even clichés associated with the type of movie it is - but when these elements are put through the filtration system of a gifted cinematic mind with the will to take things at a slower pace, the results are more memorable than the clustered fast-paced garbage you might normally expect.

Like a lot of horror flicks, it’s about a teenage girl finding herself cursed, as if it is punishment for being sexually desirable. It’s the conditions of this curse and how she is supposed to deal with it, which feels original. She will be followed by some mysterious force, which always takes the form of a person slowly approaching, who is invisible to everyone else. It can be outrun or thwarted, but it will not stop returning until it successfully kills you – unless you transfer the curse to someone else. Her sister and friends, concerned for her state of mind, keep the terrified girl company, and it is not long before they believe her situation to be real.

Writer/director David Robert Mitchell (The Myth of the American Sleepover) has made a film, which knowingly exists in its own movie world. It takes place present-day, yet it selectively chooses what kind of modern things (clothes, cars, technology) exist in it. The eighties-style synthesizer soundtrack is also worth mentioning. Something about its dated quality makes the atmosphere feel more haunting.

What’s most important to note, is that all of it is cleverly enhanced by the setting of realistic suburban decay captured by shooting in Detroit, Michigan. The movie often dares have some of its scariest scenes outdoors in broad daylight. With the dilapidated parks, homes and structures featured, there is an undeniable sense of dread present at all times. The film has a few clumsy moments, but it is astoundingly original in how it taps right into the essence of a nightmare.

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