The haunting music makes all the difference …
Imagine if you were deaf. You’re watching It Follows, America’s latest horror sensation but there is no sound. It is not scary. Fact is, it’s funny and stupid. Perhaps even a tad boring.
Of course, chilling music and horror movies go together like Chinese people and rice. It’s inseparable.
But here, in this movie, the music isn’t just a powerful tool to make silly scenes scary … no … in this movie the music is the absolute number 1-main character! And it claims more attention than any half-naked, Californian teenager girl running around …
Like any decent, typical American horror movie, we start with a frightened teenage girl running aimlessly towards a safety which you know she’ll never get. It’s a classic trope in horror movies. The first one you see – doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl – has to die! Plain and simple. Take whatever classic masterpiece horror movie you want, they all start the same way. In Jaws a girl is attacked by a shark. In Halloween a girl is stabbed to death. And in A nightmare on Elm Street a girl is having the worst nightmare of her life.
It Follows the exact same way (get it? It follows is not only the name of the movie, but also … argh, forget it!)
Once the story kicks in, we are seated at the tip of our chairs for a horror movie that promises to be very scary at times, mainly due to its well-found music. Speaking of which, the music is not only wonderfully implemented in the movie, but it’s also a clear throwback to the ’80s, what with its use of synthesizers and all.
But the use of the camerawork, the lighting, the action scenes and most especially … the subtle way the story is being built makes for one heck of a scary experience.
What is the story actually?
Well, good question. It’s simple but original. A young girl has sex with some guy only to find out that she’s been given a little present. No, she is not pregnant. That’s another movie. In this movie however, she is suddenly being stalked by some supernatural force, only described as ‘the thing’. This sickness that was passed on comes in the form of creepy and weird-looking humans who 1) never say a word, 2) always walk in a straight line to its victim and 3) are either naked or barely dressed.
Unfortunately, what was once super-scary becomes quickly a drag and after more than an hour, those inhuman zombie-like humans are hardly frightening anymore. They might as well feature in the next Ghostbusters-movie, as they are invisible to the naked eye for most and cannot die after being shot multiple times.
Which is why it’s so disappointing when we reach the last half hour of the movie. Everything falls flat on its face. The movie never gets boring – thank God for that – but there aren’t any decent scares left. It’s all so-so yawning, half-fast B-horror movie shocks and frights from that point forward.
The climax is not enough elucidated, resulting in an ending that is more confusing than satisfying. When the credits roll by and the lights turn back on, you actually need a minute or two to persuade yourself that the movie is definitely over … and more than one person might be thinking: ‘What the heck just happened?’
As a result, It Follows is far from disappointing, but it could’ve been so much more. It all started so well, but at some point the storyline stopped creating anything new and it became just another horror story of the victim playing cat-and-mouse with whatever threat she faced.
No famous actors in this lot, but they all do their best to tilt the quality a level higher.
There’s the three beautiful fresh ladies’ faces, Maika Monroe, Olivia Luccardi and Lili Sepe. The first girl is the one who’s running half a mile just to get away from the grasping hands of the strange thing trying to kill her. The others are just … there.
There’s a couple of boys to spice things up. Daniel Zovatto and Keir Gilchrist do their parts quite well.
Nothing earth-shattering here in terms of acting, but there’s a good chance we’ll never hear from these people again. It’s not that they’re bad – far from it! – but the amount of actors starting their careers in horror movies who eventually go on to become world famous celebrities is a very short list indeed. There is Johnny Depp who became famous fighting Freddy Krueger, there’s Jamie Lee Curtis staying clear of Michael Myers’ butcher knife and finally Kevin Bacon who faced a rough patch against Jason Vorhees (or more accurately – spoiler ahead! – Jason Vorhees’ mother!)
Give it to me straight:
It follows is more than your standard slashing and stabbing horror movie … but only just! It’s hardly the horror masterpiece that Halloween, A nightmare on Elm Street or more recent, The cabin in the woods were. Thóse masterpieces all brought a LOT more to the table than this one.
It follows starts off well, but forgets that its running time is 100 minutes. And after an hour or so, the first yawning moments descend upon us. The frights aren’t scary anymore. The eerie humans are laughable and even the once-so-unsettling music score hardly bothers us. The reason is simple. The storyline doesn’t present anything new and keeps running around in circles. The main character flees from one place to another, but without any motivational drive or reason why.
After a long while, all you really want is for the movie to end.
When it does, it does so on a low note … which is a shame seeing as how the inventiveness of the camera angles and the brilliant usage of creepy music gave It follows enough ground to become a modern classic.
So close … but It follows does *NOT* follow the great horror classics into the history books!
Give it to me short:
It follows is a must-see for horror fans.
It’s an above-average movie for regular movie buffs.
And it’s a free pass for desperate boys to shuffle a little closer to their girlfriends … do the arm trick when your girl turns away from the screen during a chilling scene! Do it … now!