Starring Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary
Directed by David Robert Mitchell
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
I saw It Follows months and months ago. Way before it was being heralded as “a classic horror masterpiece” by some folks out there. I was not influenced by the hype, nor are my feelings in any way a backlash against the movie. I just didn’t like it. Period.
The story is a very simple one… so simple in fact, I’ll just cut and paste from the synopsis: For 19-year-old Jay (Monroe), fall should be about school, boys, and weekends out at the lake. But after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, she finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, or something, is following her. Jay and her teenage friends must now find a way to escape the horrors that seem to be only a few steps behind.
I’m going to warn you now… It is impossible for me to give my opinion on the film without engaging in a boatload of spoilers. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, by all means watch it first and then come back here to read this review. For those who have seen and cannot imagine why I have disdain for such a universally praised film, please read on. For a more positive It Follows review, click here.
For those of you in the know, IT is little more than a sexually transmitted demonic disease. Once you have sex and contract it from someone, you must have sex with someone else in order to pass it on. What happens if you don’t? A demon who can look like anyone will begin slowly following you around until it catches up with you. What happens if it catches you? It screws you to death. I think. Actually it’s never really explained, and neither is anything else in the movie. Now, I don’t need my entertainment spoon-fed to me, but please, establish your universe and follow your rules… no matter how ludicrous they may be. That’s all I ask.
So yeah, let’s get back to that transmitted through sex thing. What if you wore a rubber? Does oral sex count? How about good old fashioned masturbation. Does there have to be an exchange of fluids? What if you’re a porn star with said STDemon filming a gangbang sequence? Will everyone get it? I have no clue.
At one point Jay is followed by the demon on a beach. The demon appeared as a female. Was it going to scissor her to death? Was that the plan?
You see, no one really knows what this plan is. Here’s what we do know. Jay contracts the STDemon from a guy who’s obviously an asshole. Said STDemon has been slow on his tail so what does he do? Instead of just going to a hooker to pass on the disease, he takes the time to seduce Jay so she’ll have sex with him. Don’t know about you, but if my life is on the line and I either have sex or die, I’m not romancing anyone. I’m heading toward the nearest vagina and getting rid of this thing. Hell, the STDemon is slow as shit. Go to Vegas. It’ll catch up a few days later, and by that time you’d have already slept with a legal prostitute who will have no doubt passed it on almost immediately to someone else. You wouldn’t even have to feel guilty about it!
And to that point… What happens if you go to… I don’t know… Europe or some place you have to fly to? Is the STDemon gonna walk underneath the ocean to get to you? If you think that sounds ridiculous, you are correct and that’s exactly my point.
The idiocy doesn’t stop there though. One of the more troubling things that a victim of this disease has to deal with is the fact that only the victim can see the slow-walking demon. Please keep that in mind. I’ll be coming back to that. During the aforementioned beach scene they tried shooting the prospective demonic lesbian scissorer, and bullets had no effect. So let’s establish this… only the victim can see it and bullets have NO effect. Got it? Good.
At the end of the film the teenagers’ big plan to stop the demon is to lure it into the high school swimming pool so that they could hurl appliances at it. I mean, it’s a demon, right? Why look into… I don’t know… exorcisms or something like that as a means to stop it when you can just simply hope it goes into the pool to finally land its target so that you can throw audio equipment and toasters at it? That’s totally logical, right? To make matters worse, while they’re trying to lure the demon into the water, Jay gives the gun to one of her friends so that she can try shooting it again. There are just two problems… One, the shooter CANNOT see the target, leaving Jay, who’s treading water in the pool, to point to where the demon is. And two, we established that bullets don’t hurt it anyways so why have someone shooting all willy-nilly at it for no goddamned reason whatsoever? I mean, why give the gun to someone who can actually see it when you can just have the main character point to what amounts to a veritable blind person and have them pull the trigger? The whole scenario is senseless, pointless, and just plain stupid.
But wait… there’s more! It’s established throughout the film that no matter what, you should not let the STDemon touch you; yet, it touches Jay no less than two times, and there was not a single consequence. At no time does an adult ever peek its head into the situation, despite the fact that we’re dealing with minors, to investigate these deaths. Not even the police when they visited a crime scene all the kids were at next door. Why question them?!?!? And speaking of crime scenes featuring teens who were supposedly fucked to death, at no time did any of the kids in this film seem at all upset that their friends were killed. Who has time to mourn when a slow-moving sex demon is on the prowl?
I could go on and on. There’s more. I thought that maybe I had missed something the first time around when I watched it, but after revisiting it… yeah, it still sucks. Now I know exactly how every person who didn’t like Paranormal Activity felt. I just don’t get the ridiculous love for It Follows.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am nothing short of THRILLED that this little indie film absolutely KILLED IT during its theatrical release. Anytime a small film can garner mucho attention, especially a horror film, I am simply over the moon because that means that hopefully other smaller budget films could get a chance. I take nothing away from its success and am glad for it, but again, I just do NOT like the movie.
There are a couple of moments that are truly effective, and the soundtrack by Disasterpeace is nothing short of brilliant. In fact, had this have been marketed as a 90-minute music video for the soundtrack, I would have thought it was genius. The trouble is the movie itself has about as much substance as a music video. The story is thin, underdeveloped, and lazy.
As for special features, we get several: a critics’ commentary hosted by Nerdist’s Scott Weinberg and featuring Eric D. Snider (MovieBS), Britt Hayes (Screencrush), Samuel D. Zimmerman (Shock Till You Drop), Alison Nastasi (Flavorwire), and Eric Vespe (Ain’t It Cool News); the featurette A Conversation with Film Composer Disasterpeace; a theatrical trailer; and a poster art gallery.
During a recent Dinner for Fiends I KNEW I was gonna be lambasted for giving my opinion on the movie, and the majority of the readers out there will no doubt take issue with my views and try to explain away some of my points, and that’s cool. It doesn’t negate them, nor will it ever change the way I feel about It Follows. I WISH I was on the bandwagon, but when something insults my intelligence to the point which this film has, I just can’t be… and I’m the guy who stands by liking The Devil Inside.
- Critics’ Commentary Track
- A Conversation with Film Composer Disasterpeace featurette
- Poster Gallery