IT FOLLOWS opens with a masterful panning shot – a full 360 degrees shot that sees a young woman terrified out of her mind and running from something lurking just off screen. The mastery of this shot lies in the way it pans to reveal the world we’ll be lost in but not what exactly is going on for this young woman is just one of the many genius moments in this psychological horror film from writer/director David Robert Mitchell.
After a romantic date that ends with some passionate lovemaking, Jay (Maika Monroe) is drugged and soon wakes secured to a wheelchair where her date frantically apologises. He’s sorry but he did what he had to do. Something is coming for her – something she can only see. Something slow, but not dumb and something that can take any form. The only way out is to pass it on to another person through sex.
There are a few films that I can call truly nightmarish but It Follows is deserving of such a title. The film has an odd dream-like quality to it that makes the horror all the more unnerving. It feels like I’m viewing the inside of someone’s mind and seeing their abstract nightmares that us humans are known to have. Because of this, the film has this relentless dread that builds and builds throughout.
More than this, the film masterfully builds dread out of a simple concept and writer/director David Robert Mitchell crafts tension from the carefully constructed camera work to deliver some nauseating set pieces.
It’s a hell of a thing, for this film has you studying the frame for the thing that walks towards the protagonist. Where’s it going to come from next? And in what ungodly form? Is it going to come from the corner of the frame or is it going to jump out here? You even begin to study the people in the background of a shot, wondering if they are “It”.
On a technical level, the film is masterful. The camera work I’ve mentioned above is outstanding from start to finish. Whether it’s panning or using great angles to make startling revelations, it’s terrific work and it works wonders when it comes to this horror.
A driving synth score from artist Diasterpeace backs up the horror on screen. It’s reminiscent of Carpenter, which is a good thing, and just like Carpenter, it’s minimal with its soundscape but it’s tense, claustrophobic and nerve-wracking.
Despite the dream-like quality of the film, the cast are excellent across the board. Maika Monroe delivers a natural, believable performance as the targeted Jay. She’s backed up with strong support by Olivia Luccardi and Keir Gilchrist.
IT FOLLOWS is the type of psychological horror that will you leave you feeling paranoid. Better than that though, it is an intelligent film that makes excellent use of not only the landscape to capture the horror but also the soundscape as well, making for a hell of a viewing.
Do yourself a favour folks; catch this outstanding piece of psychological horror immediately.
J’s Verdict: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆