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It Follows (2014)
Movie Review by The Mortician

It Follows (2014) This movie was one of the most heavily hyped indie theatrical releases of 2015, so I had some higher than average expectations for it. I finally caught up with it and was a bit underwhelmed after taking it all in. The story is pretty cool and simple- teenybopper has sex with her boyfriend and afterward, he ties her to a wheelchair and explains he's given her a dark gift: a strange supernatural creature that only she can see will haunt, stalk, and kill her...if she doesn't bump and grind with someone else and give them this "sex demon", which I guess is kind of a euphemism for a venereal disease. Suddenly this zombie-ish naked chick is stalking our heroine and there's some spooky moments. This "entity" takes the form of many people in our victim's mind---a malformed gargantuan guy, wasted looking demons, and even her father [it's implied he committed suicide]. Our heroine's group of close friends all try to help, and naturally, the males all want to sleep with her to take the demon away---and when some do, of course, they are killed, and the "rules" are that "It" goes back to the previous person when someone its stalking is finally killed. IT FOLLOWS is mildly suspenseful with a great MidWest setting and an excellent John Carpenter-ish score by Disasterpiece that sounds very close to the MANIAC remake's music by Rob in many places. The movie iis minimalistic in terms of story explanation and gore but again, the tone, with the music, is nice and eerie. I guess the biggest issue I had with the movie is that there's really no villain you can hang onto and the characters were very forgettable---none of them really stood out. They are just cardboard teens kind of wandering through life with no background relayed and it's tough to stay interested in them or even care what happens to 'em, unlike classic movies like HALLOWEEN and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, where the characters were relatable in some way. You could identify with the babysitters watching the kids or Bob the jock trying to nail Linda or the confusion Nancy had with her parents in ELM STREET. Here...the kids play cards and try to figure out what's going on and then run from it...sleep with each other to give it to the next person...then try to draw IT out in a YMCA pool at the end. There's a bizarre scene where one dude's mother is seen as IT and she rapes him before offing him, that was odd and came out of nowhere...But again, odd doesn't really make a movie good. IT FOLLOWS wasn't a complete letdown but it sure didn't deliver for me in the terrifying way I hoped it would, especially being hyped as "this generation's HALLOWEEN!" I don't see that at all...I mean, the concept of a bogey man taking the form of different people to attack has been done a million times, from JASON GOES TO HELL back to THE HIDDEN and even THE THING in '82 or INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, so nothing new there...and without characters or a story that draw you in and keep your interest, you're not left with much. I understand the director was trying to make a nonlinear "nightmare you can't wake up from" piece and that explanation helps a little with understanding what he was going for, but overall, I need a villain of some sort to hang onto in a movie like this. Call me old fashioned, call me set in my ways, but this movie really needed a Freddy or a Jason or a Michael Myers-ish character to do the stalking. Otherwise, the proceedings are fairly routine, following most of the slasher movie notes: bringing IT out of its "invisible" domain and shooting it and electrocuting it, yadda, yadda yadda. Worth a look for the surreal quality, the tone, and the musical score...but overall, kind of disappointing with a lack of coherent story, cardboard protagonists, and no main villain. It's like the meat of a good horror movie is totally missing, and what we got here was the tofu version...

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