I saw a lot of people comparing this movie to The Babadook, but really the only thing they have in common is that they’re super, super good horror movies. In It Follows, a young woman, played quite well by Maika Monroe, finds herself cursed through a sexual encounter; now, some entity of some kind or other will be following her until it either kills her or she passes it to someone else via a sexual encounter. The film is obviously something of an STD parable, but there’s way more to it than that. Mitchell creates a real atmosphere of dread and darkness; his camera is constantly roving, leaving the audience to scan the world to see who or what threat might be looming on the horizon and the moments when the entity shows up are genuinely unsettling (except for one unfortunate CGI-fest moment at a lake). The young cast is uniformly very good, particularly Keir Gilchrist who infuses his awkward character with real longing and sorrow. But where the film really succeeds is in that mood of bleakness and hopelessness. The dread is palpable and the film is unsettling, with those elements helped along massively by the retro-synth score by Disasterpeace, a collage of strange, dissonant sounds, even in the moments of beauty. Ultimately, the film’s mood adds up to a really bleak ending. This feels like a horror movie in ways beyond the superficial scares of a lot of modern horror movies; this is a movie that’s horrifying in an existential way. It posits, quite convincingly, a world in which sex has lost all meaning except as a weapon – it’s hard not to feel that in your soul as some kind of a real truth. And in this world sex isn’t only a weapon; it’s a devastatingly effective one. The ultimate fate of these characters is as dark a fate as I’ve seen in a mainstream horror movie in quite some time; they’re not strapped into a Jigsaw contraption or being dismembered by a machete wielding killer or being possessed by demonic forces while being recorded by security cameras though. This film knows that the real fates are worse than death – and those fates are visited on the soul, not the body. Those looking for cheap thrills, though there are certainly plenty of thrills, need not apply; It Follows takes its time and keeps things quiet as it slowly infuses your very bones with dread and emptiness. This is horror, in more ways than one, without a happy ending. 4 stars.
tl;dr – quiet, nihilistic horror tale features some nice scares, great performances and, ultimately, a lingering, haunting after-effect that’s as dark as they come. 4 stars.