|'The foundations of the demon are clearly in the sex-obsessed Horror of the Seventies and Eighties. A late victim of the entity is killed whilst being straddled by the demon's current persona'|
Hailed as something of a saviour of modern Horror, It Follows is as much endemic of the problems of the mainstream contemporary genre as it is able to overcome the obstacles. Written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, there's atmosphere and some nods back to the past here by the bucket-load, but there's also plentiful examples of rules not being followed, logical and plot leaps being made with abandon and the promise of an idea not being followed through well enough.
The setup, which takes a little too long to be made clear to all of the main characters, is that Jay (Maika Monroe) is being haunted by some sort of demon-like entity which can take on the appearance of anyone. To get close to her, it will often appear as someone she knows. The catch? The demon can only walk. As Hugh (Jake Weary) tells Jay: 'it's slow but it isn't stupid'.
The foundations of the demon are clearly in the sex-obsessed Horror of the Seventies and Eighties. A late victim of the entity is killed whilst being straddled by the demon's current persona and the only way to get rid of it, Hugh tells Jay, is to have sex with someone else in order to 'pass it on'. It's a clever idea not only in its relationship to classic Horror but also in how it updates those concerns to the present day and what it does to the characters on show. Jay is simultaneously victim and protagonist, as well as being potential antagonist to anyone in the film who may take a shine to her.
That idea isn't quite taken far enough, something which echoes throughout the film. Mitchell shoots almost everything in gigantic wide shots, which take in crowds and pick out potential 'walkers' at the edge of the frame. Again though, they just don't come frequently enough: certainly they're rewarding when they do arrive, but when you have such a powerful part of your film, why not find a way to include more examples? He also doesn't seem to know what he wants to say about sex; just including it as a basis point isn't really enough if you don't then have the discussion afterwards.
Whilst the final shot of the film is great, the scenes just before that are tragically undercooked. Through an idea that is never quite fully explained, the main group of characters end up trying to trap the demon within a location. Quite why they do this, what they think they can achieve by doing so or how they get into that location in the first place is never explained (a jump cut literally takes us from outside to in the basement corridors). It's sloppy, which the rest of the film never is, though some tightening up of other elements wouldn't have gone amiss either.