It Follows – 4.5 stars
Inventive, scrupulous and at times, bone chilling, It Follows is yet another nail in the coffin of gore porn and a heck of a scary move to boot. The set-up is simple (stop reading if you don’t want to know even this much): a “thing” that can take many forms follows its target, and you become a target through having sex with someone the thing is following. If you have sex with someone else, it throws the follower off, until it gets that someone, and then it is back on your trail. No one can see the thing except its targets.
It Follows adroitly handles the revelation of the curse, and what ensues is a terrifying spook story in which Kelly (Lili Sepe) must run from what follows, with the assistance of her sister, friends and neighbor. while weighing the moral implications of buying herself more time.
Writer-director David Robert Mitchell knows his stuff; the film is a near homage to John Carpenter’s Halloween, with its dreamy sense of suburbia and techno-synthesized score. His actors approach the material in a studied, restrained manner, further emphasizing the hazy unreality of the entire endeavor. He also incorporates Detroit and its desolate environs, as near an urban haunted ruin as this country has. Finally, the film trusts your intelligence rather than being explicit, no mean feat in this genre. It gets a tad ragged in the end, but closes smart.
One of the charms of The Blair Witch Project was a nostalgic authenticity, which transported you back to a younger time and made the actions of the hikers seem like exactly the kind of hubristic, stupid thing you would do at that age. It Follows has the same trait: this feels like your childhood neighborhood, and evokes the times you looked out the window and saw something that seemed off, or something you were not supposed to see, or even something your fevered mind conjured after watching too many Kolchak The Night Stalkers.
I watched this flick with my son and 5 of his high school friends; they all agreed it would be significantly more effective as a sex-ed tool than what they were currently enduring.