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It Follows review

Imagine, if you will, a combination between a haunting and a sexually transmitted disease. That’s pretty much the plot of It Follows right there.

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When a young girl called Jay, played by Maika Monroe, sleeps with her boyfriend he reveals that she is now the current target of a monster that has the power to look like anyone, but not to run. The monster will now walk after her wherever she goes and kill her if it catches up. If Jay has sex with someone they will become the new target, but if they die it will go back down the list and come after her.

Unlike a lot of recent horror stories, the rules are simple, which means the movie isn’t weighed down with a lot of explaining. The plot appears to be heavily influences by Japanese horror films, without being a remake.

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In 2003 the first film in the One Missed Called franchise was released in Japan. The story is about a ghost who picked its next victim from the contacts list in the phone of the person it just killed. Later films in the series introduced the idea that you could pass the death on to someone else by sending them the voicemail message the ghost left on your phone.

While the film isn’t exactly edge of your seat scary, it was refreshing to see the story be the driving force behind the fear rather than relying on jump scares. The plot taps into two usually unrelated fears; the fear of ghosts and supernatural creatures and the fear of catching something from sex. It kicks some dirt onto the already blurred line between horror and sex.

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It Follows is a low budget indie film, but the strong story and characters help to hide the budget constraints. Unfortunately, the score was overbearing occasionally pulling focus away from what was happening on screen. It comes across as amateur and sometimes clearly doesn’t fit with the story.

At this point, it’s almost unnerving to see a horror movie that isn’t set in a world full of idiots. The characters in It Follows are in no way geniuses, but they aren’t the type to run upstairs instead of out the front door either.

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They come up with a number of different ways to deal with the monster, though they never seem to contemplate just moving overseas. Some of their ideas seem so stupid that they could only work in a movie and, to the films credit, those plans failed. Like the original Grudge series, Ju on, there is no easy way out of this nightmare.

As far as the story goes, the film was pretty solid. One thing that did get annoying though, was that occasionally a character would have to make a decision and it would show them about to decide and then leave the answer ambiguous. It happens on two separate occasions in the film and came off too vague to draw a proper conclusion and seemed like an amateur mistake.

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The cast was really good. Okay, so some of the acting was a little bland, but they were easy to root for because they were so likeable. They also did a great job creating the feeling that they had all known each other since childhood, although there was one character that wandered around the house so often it seemed like she lived there only to have it be mentioned near the end of the film that she is in fact not a third sister.

If you’re looking for a horror that has a good story and doesn’t rely on jump scares then you should definitely check out It Follows, but if you love gore and movies that aim to have you regularly launching yourself into the air then you might want to give this one a miss.

Are you a scary movie fan? Is story important in a horror movie? Do you prefer some gore with your horror? What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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