It Follows (RADiUS-TWC, R)

it follows_75This is one of those movies where what we don’t see is just as terrifying as what we do see.

 

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Although jump-scares are rare, writer and director David Robert Mitchell (The Myth of the American Sleepover) surely knows how to generate the creeps with suffocating tension on screen. Introducing a fairly new concept (which I named the STC – Sexually Transmitted Curse), we are thrown into the peaceful suburbs of Detroit where a terrified teenage girl in her pajamas and high heels bolts out of her house fleeing an unseen force, only to end up dead on the beach the next morning.

After that eye-catching bite, we meet Jay (Maika Monroe) and her friends who are basically the usual—constantly bored teenagers who experiment with relationships and alcohol and use weird kinds of technology. After a movie date gone wrong with the new and mysterious eye-candy Hugh (Jake Weary), we are able to make a vague guess about what’s going on. But who would guess that those eerily empty streets and unusually parentless homes could be made this level of disturbing.

Once Jay and Hugh finally share a steamy session in the back of his car, he violently ties her up to explain the curse, and he does a pretty good job giving her instructions, too. Only people that are affected can see the nameless ‘It.’ It will never stop following you until It kills you, unless you pass It on to a new sexual partner. Also, It can take the form of anyone—people you know as well as strangers. Oh, and never find yourself in a place with only one exit.

Throughout the movie Mitchell doesn’t skip a beat, as we are constantly under pressure of It appearing out of the blue, searching the whole frame as quickly as possible. All of the film’s extras are potential (and very likely) threats, as are even the people we are familiar with. He plays with very long takes, slow cuts, and focus shifts to make sure the chills do not leave our spines even for a single second. In one high school scene, the camera is spinning in 360-degree circles showing It coming closer and closer with each completed loop.

More often than not, I found myself dreading the shift in focus, or the camera to move following Jay or turning around to see her point of view. This is one of those movies where what we don’t see is just as terrifying as what we do see. The exaggerated sound effects also add to the thrill and make sure all the hair on your arms is standing up.

What’s worse is that we come to the understanding that maybe there is no solution or escape. It goes down the line, killing everyone in the chain one by one, down to the very source where it all began—which we never find out. It seems that we are left at the same exact stage as Jay and her friends: acceptance. Think twice before you do something that you won’t be able to undo—it will haunt you forever. | Lea Vrábelová

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