Look Back (It Follows, 2015)
Truthfully, anytime I see hype for a horror movie as the greatest in years, I get a bit hesitant. Because there tends to be a bunch every year. Last year the praise was heaped on the Babadook. Which was a decent horror film. But hardly the best in years.
It Follows has received a lot of high praise. So, I went in with a bit of concern.
The story is focused on a young woman named Jay. After sleeping with a young man, her life takes a horrifying turn. He warns her that he has passed something on to her, and she must pass it on, or it will kill her and go back down the line. What he shows her is a person in the distance…eerily, a naked woman is walking up towards them. As she gets closer, the young man warns that while it is slow, you should never let it touch you.
Slowly, Jay is able to convince her friends something is after her, even if they cannot see it. And this is what the film does so well. You find yourself scanning the screen for shapes, to see where it might come from.The creature never looks the same, but it is always a person shambling towards Jay, and the person is usually naked or in a stage of undress. This is something the film uses to strong effect. It is rather unnerving to see the naked person walking in public. It seems out of place and makes it all the more freaky.The music in the film is haunting and increases the intensity. Where is the creature? Where will it appear? The film handles this so effective you are drawn into the film. The real tragedy within the film is the realization that passing it on never fully ends the terror, Jay knows it is there, and you always have to wonder if someone is going to fail to pass it on.
This is only David Robert Mitchell’s second full feature film, yet he shows himself to be very adept within the genre, making a highly effective thriller. Maika Monroe is compelling and sympathetic as Jay. The whole cast works, and unlike many smaller budget horror films, you do not find yourself having to put up with mediocre acting.
It Follows is a powerful and disturbing horror film which rarely gets gory, instead relying on atmosphere and performance to sell the shocks and scares. Any fan of the genre should check it out.