31 Days Of Horror (Day 17) – It Follows (2015)

Things go bump in the night, others will devour your soul, some will slice, dice eat your heart with a nice glass of Chianti. October has now arrived which can mean only one thing 31 Days of Horror has now arrived again. For the next 31 days, we will dive deep into the catacombs of horror to pick you a movie. Every day will be different ranging from the classics to the weird and wonderful. Many you might have heard of, some will be new to you. There will be personal favourites that you may like, others you may hate but they all will unleash those emotions that make us love horror.
Day 17 Aly Lalji looks at It Follows , a movie gave the horror genre the recharge it badly needed. It also gave the young generation the stark warning consequences of unsafe sex will follow you forever.

The heavenly genre of horror has hit hard with an original premise that evokes as horrific and beautiful at the same time. David Robert Mitchell’s intriguing script has simply brought to life his vision of horror that contains hidden metaphors and messages for the audience’s perusal as well as shocking entertainment value.

For nineteen-year-old Jay, (Maika Monroe) autumn should be about school, boys and weekends out at the lake. But after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, she finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, something, is following her. Faced with this burden, Jay and her friends must find a way to escape the horrors that seem to be only a few steps behind.

The fact that the thing that follows can be in the form of any random being, be it friend, family or stranger, it’s objective is to brutally slay the protagonist in slow and painful torture. What builds the terrifying tension is how they follow our protagonist slowly and slither from any unexpected moment. The film isn’t necessarily jumpy or psychological, but it leaves an eerie trail of discomfort that the audience can follow and once the horror is gripped, it sticks to you like a curse that must be shattered.That is literally what the film is about. How will Jay break the curse that has been passed on to her from her sexual encounter?

Set in a suburban part of Detroit, the influences of director David Robert Mitchell are observable. The film’s opening brings to us a Haddonfield Illinois ambience of autumn falling leaves, pumpkins on doorsteps and a damsel in distress running away from the thing that follows. The strong, sinister sound of a synthesizer in the background bring forth the strong influence of John Carpenter’s 80’s horror musical scores. Already we’re enticed, but once the audience is introduced to our leading lady, we’re hooked on the horror that unfolds.

Following on from her success from The Guest, for Maika Monroe to do another horror film back to back, gives her the potential to be the new scream queen; the title that Jamie Lee Curtis once had. She is versatile, vulnerable and vicious in what she has to do to remove the curse. To sleep with the men that are fixated on her and pass the curse on to others provides the audience with the metaphors of STI’s being a practical curse that once consumed by, you are practically at your demise.

The supporting cast is also a true standout. There are no stereotypical stock characters but are there to support Jay, even if it means to accept the curse from her, by sleeping with her. When we see Jay’s friend, Paul (Keir Gilchrist) who becomes cursed; to see his intentions of passing it on to two street prostitutes, raises more questions. Are people who know they’re infected, rather pass on their disease to people they are unbeknownst to rather than the ones they’re close to?

It Follows leaves many ambiguous outcomes that make the film ominous, but that is the power of horror, to never satisfy the audience, but to leave you with an impactful uneasiness that allows you to walk away and reflect. It is an original horror flick that shocks, shudders and makes you paranoid to anyone following you. When you walk out the cinema, look around, be vigilant and be careful.

Aly Lalji

Horror, Mystery | USA, 2014 |Icon Film Distribution | Dir.David Robert Mitchell | Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi

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