“It Follows”, directed by David Robert Mitchell, is an affable tale about young love. Before I get started with my review I’d recommend you check it out while it’s in theaters. The film is a coming of age tale about two young lovers living in Detroit. I found the film to be riveting and enjoyable. The special effects that they used were subtle and believable.
As you can see from the trailer the effects aren’t the main part of the film. I hate it when I’m watching a film and I’m taken out of the moment because of an effect. In the film the effects help give the spirits an eeriness and mystique. It’s hard to articulate what makes the spirits so terrifying. The premise itself is perhaps more scary than any special effect.
I recently watched Contracted on Netflix. I was concerned going into “It Follows” that the two films would be too similar. The two films had a lot of similarities. Girl has sex; girl gets terrible side affect “X”. Where “X” is something terrible that happens to your lady parts.
There were a few inconsistencies about the film that didn’t sit right with me. The directors choice of automobiles for Hugh left me confused. What kind of 21 year old kid has a mint condition Cadillac from the 70’s? I understand it’s Detroit; but why doesn’t he have something practical? Like a Subaru Forester or a beat up volvo? I can’t help but think that they chose that car as an homage to 1970’s horror films. It happened in almost every film from that era; a couple are in the back seat of a car. Then someone comes out of the woods and the two are violently murdered. That choice and that thought process took me out of the film.
To be fair, when I was in college my roommate drove around in a 1980 Cadillac De Ville. He bought it ironically. It had white leather seats and brown shag carpeting. It also had fun Mafioso type stuff. For example, a pistol holster in the drivers seat and teamster stickers on the back. How could I forget the sweet velvet dice in the mirror? Every Sunday, we would all pile into the caddy and take a trip to the Fallujah walmart. I have many pleasant memories of sitting in the back of that car. Our driver would chauffeur us around like Mrs. Daisy.
The slut shaming and abstinence theme that permeated the film are blatant. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the topic of slut shaming or abstinence. If you are thinking critically about this film you’ll see what I mean. The female character “Jay” seems to have no power over who she has sex with. She’s a product of her poor decisions.
The actors were fantastic. They all filled their roles and I believed each one of them. It was reminiscent of “The Goonies”. A group of kids travel around going on fun little adventures. Jay, played by Maika Monroe was wonderful. She captured the innocence and adolescence of a teenage girl brilliantly. I did find her obliviousness irritating. Several times I caught myself before screaming at the screen, “TURN AROUND YOU IDIOT!”. Perhaps her obliviousness was also an homage to the horror films of yesteryear.
Aside from the aforementioned issues, there was a lot I enjoyed about the film. It helped to reaffirm that in fact Detroit, is a shit hole. Condolences to the three of you that read this blog who live there. The decision to film this in Detroit was a good choice. Detroit is perfectly suited for these John Carpenter style films. My friend said it best when I asked him about Detroit, “It’s like ‘The Matrix’ after the machines took over”. Mitchell didn’t do Detroit any favors when he made this film. He perpetuated the stereotypes that we all have about Detroit. He managed to create the whole film on a shoestring two million dollar budget. This is probably enough money to buy most of Detroit and level it to the ground.
That’s enough shitting on Detroit, they have it bad enough. I had trouble figuring out the time period of the film. They decorated the with furnishings from the 1970’s. Then I watch as one of the girls pulls out an e-reader that I’ve never seen before. The TV they had was a tube TV and where the hell were there parents? It’s the little inconsistencies throughout the film that had me scratching my head.
The music and scoring of the film was a miss for me. I don’t generally notice something small like the scoring. In this film it was so peculiar and awkward that I couldn’t help it. It just felt clumsy to me. It felt like they tried to make the movie fit the score, and not the other way around.
Go check it out in theaters, it’s a riveting tale and is quite terrifying at times. A good way to get lost for a couple of hours.