‘It Follows’ leaves horror audiences thoroughly unsettled

Maika Monroe plays a teenage girl relentlessly haunted by coming-of-age demons. (Photo provided by itfollowsfilm.com)
Maika Monroe plays a teenage girl relentlessly haunted by coming-of-age demons. (Photo provided by itfollowsfilm.com)

The newest horror film to hit the box office, “It Follows” chillingly re-defines STDs as sexually transmitted demons as it takes the audience on an eerie thrillride through suburbia

With a shocking, unexpected beginning, writer and director David Robert Mitchell transitions into the life of Jay, a quintessential 19-year-old girl played by Maika Monroe (“The Guest”). After having sex for the first time with her boyfriend, she finds herself infected by sporadic visions of something or someone following her with the intent to kill.  She quickly learns that her boyfriend experienced the same inescapable reality when he intentionally passed it along to her through their sexual encounter.

Mitchell makes the audience realize undiscovered fears by taking two common actions: walking and sex and turns them into an unavoidable nightmare.

Throughout the film the supernatural happenings that follow take a human form of a common-looking stranger or someone who is well loved by the infected. The demon doesn’t run or chase like a typical horror antagonist but simply stalks the protagonist, giving the audience the suspenseful thought that it might kill. Such as a lanky old man, a little boy, an elderly woman or a vision of her own family members, the variety of demons that followed her left not only the characters in the movie to question who was real and who wasn’t but the audience as well. This added to the suspense and the sense that her fate was inevitable.

The focused, intense and rhythmic walking was juxtaposed by the striking and upsetting noises of the soundtrack that harken back to the soundtracks of ‘80s horror films. The music captivated the audience with suspense and gave an undertone of a retro feel to the entirety of the film. “It Follows” makes you glance over your shoulder every time another person happens to be walking at any visible distance. Caution: This film may cause paranoia.

Being that this curse is transmitted sexually, it acts as a public service announcement for abstinence, as many moralistic horror movies tend to do. Throughout the movie, no parents were directly involved and the teenagers trying to help Jay continually mentioned their fear of telling their parents, just as if she was affected by chlamydia or herpes. While watching the movie the thought of this was scary, but after it was almost comedic. The main character tried having sex with different people in attempts to get rid of it, yet the catch was once the demon killed one person it would go down the line to whomever that person got the curse from, ultimately continuing to come back to her.

Although this is an original, modern day horror film, the director perfectly executed an ‘80s theme with more than just the retro music soundtrack. This includes classic Cadillac cars, electronics and the look of the characters, including their leather jackets and thick, long bangs right down to the high-wasted, full-coverage briefs and one-piece bathing suits. Even the movie poster was a look that could have been found on a VHS case 30 years ago. “It Follows” essentially paid homage to the classic 1980s horror films with original modern twists.

The cinematography switches from an outside perspective to captivating the audience by taking on a specific characters point of view. If the character was running, breathing heavy or being wheeled around in a wheelchair against their will, the audience got a first perspective view in the eyes of that character. This forced the audience to experience the helplessness and fear of the characters which transcended far past them leaving their seats.

Although the ending was unsatisfying and abrupt, the film exceeded the feelings of typical modern day horror film. It leaves a lasting impact on the audience that scary, pop-out, shocking, super gory horror films fail to do. The audience might find hesitation walking in public at night after seeing this movie. The thoughts this movie provokes follows the audience long after the movie ends. “It Follows” infects its viewers on multiple levels, leaving the audience feeling uneasy and paranoid as they step out into the night.