Films of 2015 - It Follows
As 2015 draws quickly to a close, I'd like to take the time to remember the films that have resonated and stayed with me throughout the year. The first film I'd like to talk about is It Follows.
It Follows is a supernatural horror film written and directed by David Robert Mitchell and stars Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi and Lili Sepe. It tells the story of Jay (Maika Monroe), a young woman who is stalked by a supernatural being after a sexual encounter with a man named Hugh (Jake Weary). With the aid of her friends, Jay searches for answers, knowing that whatever follows her could strike and kill her at any time.
It Follows is a smart, stylish and eerie thriller that is reminiscent of horror films from the 1980s, most notably Halloween. There is a palpable sense of tension and a feeling of dread in every shot. The story continues to get stronger and stronger as the film progresses until the end when, unfortunately, it starts to buckle under the weight of its own complex nature. However, a stellar performance from Maika Monroe keeps everything on the right track.
It Follows opens with a wonderful tracking shot as a young woman is chased by 'It' from a suburban street to a deserted beach in the dead of night. The cinematography is flawless, the visuals are gorgeous, and the electronic score fills you with terror. Speaking of music, the original score from Disasterpeace is terrific, as the high pitched synthesizers and low tones keep you unnerved and keeps the tension rising to an almost unhealthy level.
We are introduced to Jay (Maika Monroe) soon after, as she gets herself ready for a date with Hugh (Jake Weary). Jay is not your typical horror character; she is a sweet, innocent and wide eyed young woman whose world is brought crashing down around her after her brief encounter with Hugh. Monroe leads the film superbly and captures the innocence of her character with a remarkably subtle performance. With an upcoming role in the Independence Day sequel, we can expect to see a lot more of her in the future. Aside from Jake Weary and Daniel Zovatto, the supporting cast were quite wooden, but maybe that was more to do with the fact that their characters were given little to do.
Be advised; when watching this film, pay close attention. There are so many crumbs of information ingrained in every shot and it is so easy to miss them if you're not truly invested. Many have theorised about the message that It Follows is trying to spread, and the easiest conclusion to come to is that 'It' in the film is the stigma of a sexually transmitted disease. I too agree with this theory, but I also like to believe that It Follows is about the loss of innocence. This is why this film is such a joy to me; I will continue to think and theorise about it forever more.
The film is not without its flaws though, as the ending falls somewhat flat and there are two or three false jump scares that are out of place and unnecessary. It is nowhere near a perfect film, but is any film perfect?
What I love so much about It Follows is how different it is. Modern horror films, such as Annabelle and Ouija, tend to follow the same patterns and hit the same beats, whilst It Follows felt original and fresh. It is a suspenseful and tension-filled film with fantastic cinematography, a chilling musical score and a brilliant performance from its lead actress. If you like the horror genre, this is one you should see.