Jay (Maika Monroe) is a normal 19 year old teen, just looking for a good time and someone to have them with. However her pursuit of a normal adolescent life is destroyed when she appears to have been cursed with visions and the overwhelming fear of being followed by some being.
It is worth noting that if you are looking for a simple few screams horror film that is fun on the day and that’s it, this is not for you. If you are looking for a film to properly scare the shit out of you, you are in luck.
What It follows is, is essentially a culmination of a couple of relatively well known horror tropes, which all blend together to make something you have never seen before. It takes ideas like the curse (seen most successfully in Ringu) and the intrinsic link between sex and death (which is a horror trope as old as the genre itself) to create a central plot that is scary just to think about.
What I enjoyed especially about It Follows was its clear separation from most of the modern horror movies, and their conventions. It isn’t found footage, it doesn’t focus centrally on gore and the plot isn’t centred on loud noises. Sure there are loud noises, but they punctuate the periods of lasting dread and suspense, rather than the other way round. And these few jump scares are probably the most effective I have ever experienced. And this is because it is not a film about a horrific curse, it’s a film about a group of teenagers that just so happen to be dealing with a horrific curse. You care about the characters, and thus when they are in danger you feel in danger.
The whole film is set in this strange timeless yet dated society, containing features from the eighties, the forties and the now. While existing in a world that could be from any time. There are clear nods throughout to the classic horror movies of the late seventies and early eighties, both in theme and aesthetic. The soundtrack is a pure slab of eighties horror brilliance, that I think would probably be unsettling enough on it’s own.
Another reason as to the fundamental terrifyingness of It Follows is that it capitalises on the fear of something very normal. People Walking. Not scary right? Watch this and it will be. You will find yourself looking at people walking at a normal pace and feeling a genuine fear.
Overall, if you are the faint of heart I wouldn’t recommend this one to be honest. It is fucking terrifying. And what higher praise can you give a horror film really?