Why do people like horror movies? Why do we like getting scared or terrified? I think it’s more about learning and being pursued by our darker, baser impulses…at least that’s what it used to be about before “Saw” came along and made it all about the gore; or “Paranormal Activity” used a static camera to do jack shit. So behold my children, the scariest horror film in a decade has arrived, it’s called “It Follows.”
The film opens up with a high school girl getting viciously murdered off screen before we cut to Jay, a senior who’s been seeing a cute guy named Hugh. Things seem very standard boy meets girl romance, until Jay and this guy have sex…and then Hugh chloroforms her. He explains that he gave her an STD, something worse than herpes. A…thing will follow her everywhere she goes. It will take on any appearance it chooses, a close friend or a random stranger, anything to get close to her. And if it does, she’s fucked…figuratively AND literally.
This film is down right unsettling. The creepiness permeates throughout the film like the Sword of Damacles as you wait for the entity to make it’s appearance. Worst still, “It” doesn’t speak to anyone, can’t be seen by anyone except those with the curse, and it just walks to you.
It doesn’t run. That’s what makes it even more unnerving. It simply walks calmly…until it gets it’s hands on you before you meet a gruesome death. And oh my God. I thought that the worst way someone could die would be at the hands of the Kingpin from Daredevil or The Mountain from Game of Thrones. Nope, there’s a death in this movie that is WAY more horrible than those two examples. That’s the kind of beast we’re dealing with.
Punctuating the film is the moody score. The film is mostly quiet, until the entity comes into view and the music slowly builds into an assault on your eardrums. A twisted mix of electronic sounds from the ’80s.
Actually, come to think about it, the film FEELS like a horror film the early 1980s. That era that gave us Halloween, Nightmare of Elm Street, and Friday the 13th. What’s more is that the cars, the phones, hell the freaking appliances in the background all look like from that area. You have a group of teenagers being stalked by an otherworldly force as they have copious amounts of sex.
And what’s the lesson we learned from those legendary horror films when teenagers have sex? If you’re answer is a “squirming horrible death,” then *ding*ding*ding* you got the correct answer.
If I have a complaint about the film is that it occasionally borrows from a genre I’m not particularly found of: mublecore. You know the kind of film I’m talking about, where a bunch of 20 or 30-somethings mumble about their single lives and how everything sucks while being filmed on in “real locations” in the Midwest. So between the scary stuff, you have the devolutions into talking about the past and how everything was so much better when people were just kids while mumbling several of their lines.
Come to think of it, the film has a strong connection to longing for childhood when the main character flees from her pursuer into a playground. Or when another character longs for the day when he was just five years old. The simplicity of it and not needing to worry about several hundred things consuming our thoughts every waking hour. These worries manifesting themselves into a horror that only we can see.
A horror that we try to escape from any way we can: by fighting it or by passing the horror unto someone else. And no matter how badly we long for the halcyon and worry-free days; when we take our steps into adulthood, we can’t turn away and…shit that got way more introspective than I thought it would be.
And therein lies the beauty of this horror masterpiece. A film about our baser instincts as we learn to live with them while the world around us ignores our plight. This is one wonderfully creepy experience that, like a twisted STD on your genitals, you simply want others to see it. Many people won’t want to look you diseased genitals, but there are several horror fans out there who understand and will want to see your twisted beauty.
Tortured metaphors aside, I’m giving this a very enthusiastic…