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  1. Evan C

    It Follows

    Do we really not have a thread for this? Mike D'Angelo praised it pretty highly at Cannes last year. And it's been getting pretty good reviews at Rotten Tomatoes as well. Anyway, I found it to be a very interesting if not entirely successful take on the classic horror film equation teenage sex = death. The performances are all solid, and I appreciated that it doesn't waste time with obvious the horror film tropes. We know initially no one will believe Jay (Maika Monroe) when she tells her friends of the phantom that's following her after she had sex with hunky boyfriend Hugh (Jake Weary), since she is the only one of them who can see the thing. But writer director David Robert Mitchell doesn't waste time with awkward scenes of them doubting her as she hopelessly tries to convince them otherwise. We know something will happen to convince them of the reality of the danger, and it does. The phantom/monster/apparition can take any form, and it blatantly serves as some type of metaphor for the dangers of promiscuity, most likely STDs. I also thought there was a date rape metaphor, especially since Jay learns about the creature by Hugh drugging her, tying her up, showing her the phantom, and telling her it will stop following her as soon as she sleeps with someone else. If it kills her, it will revert back to stalking him. Obviously, whatever metaphor the creature serves as is imperfect, and that adds to the sense of unease which the film manages to create. I had two big problems. First, Mitchell doesn't really know how to end the film. To his credit, he does come up with a fairly effective final shot, but after following the story through expected and unexpected twists, his finale winds up in a scenario that stretches credibility a little too far by having the teenagers do something that would inevitably attract attention from adult authorities. The noticeable lack of adults throughout the entire film does emphasize the lack of guidance the kids have, so that problem is only a mild distraction. For me, the bigger problem with the finale is that its lighting, sets, and blocking all blatantly recall the finale of Let the Right One In, and that's not a comparison that would help any film. My second problem is the score. From reading other reviews, I am seeing that many critics really liked the score. Not to be snarky, but I don't understand how that's possible. I wouldn't call any of the music bad in itself, but its placement in the film is so obnoxiously conspicuous and attention grabbing, that any scene which might have been scary is completely undermined. I even managed to accurately conduct some of the explosive cues several seconds in advance. While the film does have a consistent uneasy atmosphere throughout, due to the score, I could hardly call it frightening. To be honest, I've been more scared watching animated Disney films than I ever was watching this. Nonetheless, It Follows has a fascinating premise and decent enough execution to be a thought-provoking horror film, even if it is regrettably, not at all frightening.
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