Every so often you see a film that excites you and exceeds your expectations; a film that is so refreshingly entertaining and original you cannot wait to see it again. David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows (2014) is undoubtedly one of those films! It Follows made a limited theatrical debut in the U.S on February 13th, 2015; however, the film was not widely released into theaters until March 27th, 2015. This indie horror film presented by Northern Lights Films and produced by Animal Kingdom burst onto the scene, being screened at over 35 different international film festivals; including but not limited to some of the most prestigious festivals in the world, such as the Cannes Film Festival and the Sundance film festival. The film feels as classic as it does innovative.
The opening scene of the film features an unnamed girl being chased or “followed.” She is chased all the way to the shore where she proceeds to get out of her car and sit right at the edge of the ocean; the ocean in this particular case is symbolic for having literally nowhere else to run. The girl is ultimately “followed” to the edge of the earth. Cut to the next scene and the unnamed girl is brutally murdered on the beach, broken into a position I’ve yet to see done this well in a horror film. I was pleasantly surprised at the realness and shock factor of the gore, especially as gore was not overused or hardly even used throughout the remainder of the film. The “less is more” technique was truly effective as well as tasteful.
The opening scenes set the tone, as well as prompt the narrative, for the rest of the film. The audience then begins to meet our main characters whom we will follow through the remainder of the film. The film does an amazing job of creating characters the audience becomes invested in. The characters are not only real and relatable, they are extremely fun to watch; the cast is one of the greatest things about the film. Although, everything from the cinematography to the score was impeccable! This film actually felt a lot like one of my favorite cult classics, River’s Edge (1986) starring Keanu Reeves, Crispin Glover and the late Dennis Hopper. It strangely appears to be a period piece in which all of the costuming and imagery is retro and reminiscent of the 60s or 70s, except the film is taking place in present day. This to me was at times confusing, but it actually added to the visual delight of the film.
The cinematic elements of this film were one of my favorites to date! Appealing to more than just horror fans, the playful amount of foreshadowing and symbolism used throughout the film was enough to satisfy the palette of any true cinema fan. If It Follows had any flaws at all, they were in the narrative elements. The story was great, but toward the end of the film it began to feel slightly boring and redundant. However, the ominous tone on which the film ends helps to recover the flavor the story embodied for the majority of the film. I highly recommend seeing It Follows while it’s still in theaters, I can’t wait to see it again!