From allowing individuals to rediscovered their suppressed fears to putting moviegoers through traumatic experiences as they cower behind the safety of their blankets; horror has been a definitive genre of film for decades. While other genres have the ability to grasp viewers with a visually entrancing world or special effects, very few can meet the true sense of escapism and impressiveness that horror has been able to achieve. Unfortunately, the genre has grown stale over the course of the last twenty years, with more titles that hurt the once prestigious form of entertainment- but a saving grace has emerged in what may be the revival of the horror genre.
In a catalog of films with false jump scares and prequels explaining an unnecessary origin with mediocre stories we have 2015’s “It Follows.” Resonating with audiences as a mixture of tribute and originality, the film acts as a giant leap forward towards a respectable status for the genre.
Discussing the specifics of the plot for viewers who haven’t experience “It Follows” would be a crime, as it makes it less striking to a first time watch. Without going into spoiler territory, the premise revolves around a supernatural being that stalks a specific individual with the end goal of killing that person. It may sound rather ordinary, but the film takes this overused premise and redefines it through a very profound way that may shock a few viewers.
While a film’s premise can be the most original interpretation in recent memory, it can only take its success so far. Having a collective group of characters to care about is the core component to elevate the scare factor. Maika Monroe leads the cast as Jay, a college student who spends most of her time with her close net group of friends. Once she becomes a target of the supernatural being, Jay begins to battle not just fear but the doubts of her peers. It seems that most films of recent have tried to produce a new scream queen, but very few have come to the level of Monroe. She truly emulates a person who is fearing for her life; as seen by her being overcautious to performing uncharacteristic acts to survive, Monroe presence lies down the stakes and fear that the audience should be feeling. As for her friends, each offer a sincere approach, since they want to help her as much as they can; even with their minds drowning in doubt.
The film doesn’t stop there, as the cinematography in “It Follows” elevates the bar for modern day various scenes that would be just as mesmerizing if left on mute, proving the simplicity can be key to a great shot. The camerawork is just another feat that “It Follows” masters with ease. Circular panning shots are used throughout the film to give a sense of scale and set an awareness of depth for viewers. While “It Follows” does utilize jump scares throughout the film, it gives a newer take on scaring audiences by placing the killer in the background for all to see. By moving slowly towards the targeted character, the film produces an undeniable amount of suspense that’ll have you squirming in your seat as you try to warn the aforementioned victim.
With the combination of a suburban neighborhood, retro cars and house décor it’s obvious that the individuals behind the film were going for an homage to the late 70’s and early 80’s horror film. “It Follows” screams tribute throughout the film, especially with Disaserpiece’s score. Utilizing synth as the main tone, the score is able to create a sense of suspense and mystery.
From head to toe, “It Follows” is can be considered a modern day classic, in the sense that it both defies expectations as well creating something entirely original in what has become an oh so repetitive genre. Beneath it’s rather provocative subject matter, “It Follows” acts as an analysis of the horror genre and commentates upon a subject matter that lurks throughout society. That being said, the film isn’t for everyone, as it incorporates some rather traumatic elements that’ll catch unsuspecting viewers off-guard; but that’s what horror is all about.