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It Follows

It Follows

Released 27 February 2015
Director David Robert Mitchell

Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe, Jake Weary, Daniel Zovatto
Writer(s) David Robert Mitchell

Rebecca Green, David Kaplan, Erik Rommesmo, Laura D. Smith
Origin United States
Running Time 100 minutes
Genre Horror
Rating 16

Look behind you.

It Follows is a film that really did follow me on the walk home, making me eye fellow pedestrians with deep suspicion. Its concept is simple but inherently creepy - the entity at the centre of the film differs from the ghostly presences usually shown on screen in that it does not speed shrieking at you down a dark corridor or chase you through a maze-like forrest, instead it is a seemingly harmless figure walking towards you, slow and steady but utterly unstoppable. This fear of being watched and followed is a primal one and is one that sticks with you; a pervasive little shiver that travels up your spine.

Our heroine Jay (the excellent Maika Monroe) is a pretty and popular teenager on the cusp of adulthood. After a couple of dates with the handsome and enigmatic Hugh (Jake Heary), they have sex in the back of his car. Directly afterwards, Jay awakes in an abandoned car park, having been drugged and bound by her date. Hugh claims to have passed something on to her. At first Jay doesn’t believe him but she is soon plagued by the constant feeling that she is being followed. With the help of her friends, Jay tries to escape a seemingly inescapable entity.

Director David Robert Mitchell has created something of an instant classic with It Follows - a genuinely spine-tingling film that is married to great performances, a wealth of ideas and beautiful wide-screen photography. The film takes place in an alternative present, buzzing with interesting little idiosyncrasies. There is a clash of the old and the modern as teenagers read their homework assignments from high-tech clamshell screens, yet watch televisions that still need bunny ear antennas to pick up a signal. This setting is an ingenious tactic from Mitchell - by removing the action to a world that is at once familiar yet alien to us, the presence of the relentless spirit becomes horribly plausible.

It Follows is a cine-literate, fiendishly clever piece of filmmaking from a director who manages to nod in the direction of horror classics while weaving something fresh and original from some of its hoariest old tropes. Analytical credentials aside though, what’s most important is that It Follows is a horror film that burrows into your subconscious, ready to pop back into technicolour life the next time you hear a floorboard creak in the middle of the night.

- Linda O’Brien