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It Follows

Posted in Reviews

Slow and brooding doesn’t have a place in most modern horror movies. Not because it doesn’t work, but because it’s hard to make it work well, and still manage to keep hold of the short attention span of the modern moviegoer. It Follows does a great job at being an homage to that slow, cautionary tale that horror movies have been rooted in since forever, while remaining unique in the process.

It’s a slasher film, a ghost story, a supernatural thriller and an art-house movie, all wrapped into a neat package. It Follows keeps the trappings of the horror genre, using them nearly pitch-perfectly at any given moment, while managing to subvert expectations of the tropes by making them seem like they’re brand new ideas. If that doesn’t make sense, just know that there is almost nothing new in this movie, but it still seems fresh.

It Follows isn’t a masterpiece, but it is something worth seeing, if only for its execution. The shots, the colors, and the music come together to make something strange and discomforting. This is an amazing feat, given that most modern horror goes for blood-flowing, over blood-pumping. The movie has its moments of gore, but the filmmakers didn’t rely on it solely to make the element of fear work. The fear in this piece is a much more natural, and unsettling feeling – one that I think everyone can relate to: someone could be following you.

As simple as it is, the following element works. Maybe it’s social commentary of how digital reality vs actual reality can make our real life encounters seem like an oddity. Maybe it’s just the fact that there are strange and dangerous people among us, and they could look like anyone. Either way, any time you look over your shoulder and make eye contact with a stranger, there’s always something telling you to be careful. There’s always a stomach turn – which can sometimes be positive, as well – but there’s a sudden feeling in your gut you can’t shake. This film uses that flutter perfectly, and builds it into something you won’t forget for the next time.

It Follows is interesting, to say the least, and something I have a hard time recommending to horror fans, based on what modern horror has become. But anyone who has a heart for the core of the genre, It Follows is a return to form in many ways. It has plenty to offer for anyone paying attention to the details, but not necessarily the blood splatter most people are looking for.

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