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LFF 2014: It Follows | reviews, news & interviews

LFF 2014: It Follows

LFF 2014: It Follows

An instant horror classic that's the stuff of nightmares

Jay (Maika Monroe, left) feels the fear

Few films this frightening are also so kind. David Robert Mitchell’s second feature starts with a pretty teenage girl suffering inexplicable, bone-snapping terror. He makes us wait to find out why, lingering in the lives of 19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe) and her friends in their deliberately timeless, golden, Spielbergian suburbs. This is a world where the sun always shines, black-and-white science-fiction is usually showing on TV, and only Disasterpeace’s John Carpenter-esque electronic score reminds you something awful is looming. Mitchell’s sensitivity to teenage lives, and intimate performances led by the quietly suffering Monroe, mean we care as a tide of fear rolls over them.

Mitchell’s monster, he explained after It Follows’ first LFF screening, grew from his own recurring nightmares. Once its curse is passed on to Jay by tentative sexual contact with an “infected” boy, a shape-shifting demon invisible to others walks implacably towards her, no matter how far or fast she runs. This idea isn’t wholly fresh (see the Denzel Washington-starring Fallen, for instance). But Mitchell pulls the very stuff of his nightmares into the daylight. The monster as a man slightly too large and too fast to be real loping over a windowsill right next to Jay carries the tang of the uncanny, found in dreams you cry out from as you wake, when the thing your unconscious has conjured catches and touches you.

It Follows is full of possible subtexts: sex communicating disease and punishment (a horror standby that’s underplayed; loving sex also liberates here), and the abandoned urban nightmare of Detroit as the place the suburbanites track their fear to. All this means is that Mitchell has made a warm, living world, full of sunlight and darkness. He's made an instant cult classic, too.

Mitchell’s sensitivity to teenage lives means we care as a tide of fear rolls over them


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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