Indie Darling “It Follows” Disappoints Despite Suffocating Praise




It Follows is “good” for all the boring reasons. It’s premise—a supernatural being haunting unlucky youngsters who contract it through dirty sex we never get to see—tickled critics into trumpeting it as an allegory for AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. But boy is that interpretation a downer. Where’s the fun in AIDS? Horror is supposed to be fun, as well as terrifying. Picture Linda Blair’s spinning head and projectile vomit, or Drew Barrymore’s clumsy almost-escape from the ghost-faced killer in Scream, and then think of the sluggish repetitiveness of It Follows. It takes its clumsy, so-simple-it’s-actually-complicated plot too seriously.





It is a technically sound movie—much to my chagrin (why can’t all of it be bad?). Filmmaker David Robert Mitchell knows how to window dress. He creates a classical horror atmosphere with a soundscape of sparse music, gongs and bells, displaying smooth and complicated zooms and pans. He sets the film on windswept suburban streets, with cars driving down the block sporting manual roll down windows. The bad boy neighbor wears a mean jean jacket, and Jay (the magnificently generic Maika Monroe), our infected college age heroine, lives in a house with tube televisions and a front porch. She lives with her sister and mother, though mom isn’t in many scenes and we hear it whispered in the wind that the family is unstable. So when Jay is infected after giving it away to a slick 21-year-old boyfriend, she’s left to fight “it” off with the help of little sis and little sis’s two buddies (and the aforementioned bad boy neighbor, though he’s best left as the dreamy skeptic, not totally down with the crew).




The four of them work with the street smarts of Scooby Doo and company, only much dumber, and with far less fashion sense. Their plan to take “it” down (when they finally come up with one) is so stupid, it shines a light on just how lost Robert Mitchell is within his own plot. Though this quartet of Ghost Buster dropouts does its best with the aimless action to be the bravest scaredy-cats on the block, the actors don’t do much to liven up the roles (even an early fart joke passes with zero enthusiasm). Don’t blame Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, or Lili Sepe—playing the two buddies and the younger sister, respectively—just avoid all their future movies.




The strangers “it” takes the form of move like old school, really slow zombies.They are easy to escape and devastatingly unimpressive. World War Z introduced to us a fitter zombie, brain eaters flying around with cat like quickness and spider like speed. Can’t Robert Mitchell’s zombie rip-offs at least power walk?


Robert Mitchell said the plot for It Follows sounds like the worst thing ever when you say it out loud (and he definitely shouldn’t have admitted it, because it’s true). But, more egregiously, he said the plot to It Follows relies on dream logic. The “it” isn’t as scary as the theoretical terror of being followed. The big problem for me is that dream logic is a load of bull. It’s why listening to someone explain their dream is so painful, it makes you want to rip your ears off. To take the same logic we use to make our dreams “profound,” instead of the silly bits of nonsense they really are, and to make a movie out of it, you’d better be one hell of a storyteller to pull it off. In the case of It Follows, it’s better to keep dreaming.

I Give “It Follows” an 5.5 out of 10



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About Jules Neuman

Jules lives in Brooklyn, New York City. He works in the city, watches movies, and writes criticism. Jules is a graduate of Eugene Lang College at The New School, and attended high school at The Ross School. His breakdown for his scale is below: 10-Perfect 9.5-Almost Perfect 9-Flirting w/ Perfect 8.5-Excellent 8-Great 7.5-Teetering on Great 7-Almost Great 6.5-Very Good 6-Pretty Good 5.5-Good Enough 5-OK 4.5-Not OK 4-Getting Bad 3.5-Not Good 3-Bad 2.5-Really Bad 2-Horrible 1.5-Really Awful 1-Unwatchable .5-Insufferable 0-The Worst

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