Sexually Transmitted Demon
When it comes to originality in the horror genre, almost every idea has been exhausted and run into the ground. From vampires and demons through to werewolves and evil spirits, it’s increasingly difficult for a horror film to come along and deliver something that genuinely feels original or breathes some much needed life into an otherwise over-saturated genre. Step forward It Follows, a smartly written horror film, playing on the conventional teen tropes you’d expect with a film like this with enough originality to make it one of the better horrors released in this generation.
The story revolves around 19 year old Jay (Maika Monroe). After a night of passionate sex, her one-night partner reveals a supernatural force is now stalking her after he passed it to her, with the only way to stop it to pass it on to someone else through sexual activity. What’s particularly unique here is the way this spirit operates and the rules established early on. The spirit can take human form, will walk tirelessly toward your location regardless of how far away you are and never sleep or stop. The terrifying concept plays on ideas of isolation, paranoia and dread as Jay frantically tries to figure out what’s going on with her friends whilst establishing who she can and can’t trust.
To reveal much more about the plot would be to spoil the way this story unfolds but suffice to say, the film plays out well despite its obvious ending. This simple mechanic of establishing rules and sticking to them is something that’s a pretty conventional horror trope but something that’s also something fundamentally missing from a lot of modern horrors as increasingly elaborate ways to reinvent the wheel fail. It helps too that a lot of the film is shot during the day, playing on the themes raised early on while sustaining the right level of dread and suspense regardless of the time of day.
Technically, the film is really quite impressive too. Rotating cameras, long, drawn out point-of-view shots and a plethora of lighting tricks really help bring an element of sophistication to an otherwise simple story. The acting is admittedly a little cliched and the characters are barely fleshed out beyond the simplistic archetypal personas they’re given but there’s enough here to make It Follows an enjoyable watch nonetheless.
While there are better horrors out there and It Follows isn’t the scariest film you’re likely to see, it is one of the smarter and better made horrors of this generation, tapping into a fountain of paranoia and suspense, driven by its original and simplistic premise. If you can go into this one with an open mind, you’ll find a highly enjoyable horror and one with enough enthusiasm and drive to see it through to its admittedly predictable ending.