Friday, April 3, 2015

It Follows

I'm having a hard time organizing my thoughts for this movie, so I'm going to give you a mish-mash of unconnected thoughts.

- It’s hard to ignore the obvious Halloween references throughout the film.  All the wide shots from a steadicam.  The calm, tree-lined suburban streets with more than a hint of evil lurking.  The pulsing synth.  The fact that the supernatural killer is referred to as “The It” in interviews, which is pretty close to “The Shape”.  I kept waiting for Michael Myers to pop out from behind a row of shrubs.

 - With all the style – all the window dressing – it would be easy to miss the fact that this, at its heart, a slasher movie.  There is an unstoppable force heading right towards you at a slow pace.  It never runs.  It never wavers.  If it is shot, it falls down, gets back up and keeps coming.  Jay is our final girl.  Unlike the stereotypical final girl, she has had sex.  But, like the stereotypical final girl, she has the attention of the killer and does what she has to in order to survive.  The plot of the movie is summed up in the title: It Follows.  And, like our favorite killers, it never stops.

- I’ve heard a lot of talk about the unnecessary nudity in this.  It’s true that there is a decent helping of nudity in this, but I would not call it unnecessary.  None of the nudity is alluring.  It is all courtesy of The It, and it is all ugly.  It is all uncomfortable.  The It is, in essence, an STD, and it chooses (at times) to manifest itself in forms of twisted and ugly sexuality.

- I love the slasher aspect to this.  I also love the fact that it is always walking.  There’s never a fear that it’s going to be hiding in the closet, waiting to pop out at you.  It doesn’t try to hide.  There is no fear that it will suddenly be in hiding in the backseat of your car.  It doesn't work that way.  It doesn’t sneak around.  It just keeps coming.  Like a slasher or a zombie, it is relentless.  You need to sleep.  To rest.  To take a break.  It doesn’t need that.  While you’re sitting still, it’s getting closer.  And there’s nothing you can do about it.

- I like to think that they cast the actor who played Greg because he kind of looked like Johnny Depp, and they wanted a nod to Nightmare on Elm Street.

- I mentioned the soundtrack earlier, but I'd like to bring it up again here.  It was composed/performed by electronic artist Disasterpeace, and it sets a perfect tone.  It goes from minimal and creepy synth tones to full-blown noise explosions.  He draws a lot of comparisons to Carpenter's scores here (I have to believe a lot of that was at the behest of the director), but he is able to put his own spin on it.  I am currently listening to this.  It is storming outside and my back is to an open door.  I am looking over my shoulder every 30 seconds or so, just making sure The It isn't creeping ever closer.

- It was interesting how differently this thing was dealt with.  Hugh/Jeff (although I thought he looked more like a Ricky/Wesley) had sex with Jay and took off.  His thought process was solid, if a bit cold: if The It kills the person it is tracking, it will then go after the previous infected person.  (An added note: only those infected at some point can see The It.  So, if you haven't been infected, you will just watch your friend freak out, but you won't actually see anything.)  If he passed on The It to Jay and stuck around only to watch her die, he would be next on the list, and The It would have a very short trip to kill him.  For Hugh, the disease was one of isolation.
Jay and her friends took it another way.  They looked out for her, whether they actually knew what they were looking for or not.  A couple of them offered to have sex with her, in part because they were horny teenagers, but in part because they really did care about Jay.  For them, the disease brought them together.  I found it interesting the different ways these groups dealt with this killer stalking one of them.  I'm pretty sure it's some kind of "glass half full or half empty" thing, but with a disturbingly naked and placid killer slowly creeping closer to you.

I want to get deeper into this, but I can't really do that without doing some major spoilers, so I guess I'll refrain from doing that.  The hype for this movie has grown pretty large, but, just like The Babadook, I feel this movie is able to avoid being a victim of its own hype.  It's a terrific movie with a great style, a huge nod to the past and a pretty good sense of humor.  It's not quite the movie I thought it was going to be, but I'm perfectly okay with that.

Rating: 5/5

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