Author Topic: It Follows  (Read 5543 times)

AnneT313

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It Follows
« on: March 20, 2015, 03:59:00 PM »
I saw this at Sundance. It seemed well received. I can't really judge. I think I've seen less than a dozen scary movies in my whole life; the last being Cabin in the Woods.  So I may not be the best judge of "It Follows". And I'd really like to hear opinions from other Filmspotters.


First, I liked that it was psycho scary, not gross out scary. A lot a reviewers have commented on the scariest scenes being someone just walking slowly straight toward camera. I must admit, I was more scared by the jump scares. I liked the suspense in the scenes with "It". Whether it was the girl in the movie theater, or the different people walking across the grass. Or the guy on the roof. (BTW - that really is the Redford Michigan Movie theater. They run old films on Fridays and Saturdays)

I really liked when Jay was somewhere by herself, just looking around, waiting for her follower.  Unfortunately, the soundtrack seemed to be turned up to 11.  This meant the scary music seemed over the top a lot, and it really telegraphed what was going to happen next. I've seen many reviews praising the soundtrack.  So much so that I wonder if it was reworked between Sundance and wide release.

The film did look kind of grainy and independent. It had almost a home made, faded quality to it. At times this was distracting. But, I thought the framing and the shots were well done. Good visual technique. Obviously, the director has learned from watching a lot of movies and I thought the point of view was always interesting and not too showy. It helped with the suspense.

I liked the overall feel. Maybe this is because I live in the area where it was shot, and recognized many of the settings, but it didn't feel bigger than life. It felt real. I didn't consciously notice how much director David Robert Mitchell tried to convey a timeless quality, but I felt it when I watched the film. The sets didn't feel dressed. They felt organic. The wardrobe was not as successful however. It felt planned and a bit unnatural. That did the characters a disservice. Because how the teenagers related to each other felt familiar and not stagey. Maia Monroe as Jay, was always interesting to watch. I was also pulled in to Bailey Spry's performance, even though she is only in the first scenes. I am hoping to see her on screen again.

The "waiting" section was very draggy. I'm hoping that was intentional, as it echoed the awful waiting to see what happens next that Jay was facing. But it made me shuffle around waiting for the film to just get on with it.

The water theme started out great. Jay in the backyard pool was so intriguing. And the girls in Lake Michigan was tense. But I don't think it sufficiently set the stage for the final attack in the swimming pool.

Many comments online about an unsatisfying third act. I kind of agree. At the time I remember not minding the ending. But now, two months later, I honestly don't remember exactly how the films ends. I remember loving the atmosphere in the public swimming pool, and the lighting, but after that, not many memories.

This is a director I will seek out in the future. Overall it was an good watch because I had no expectations going into the film. I can't confirm that this is the best horror film of the 21st century, or even that it's the best since Blair Witch. All that sounds like hyperbole anyway, and I just don't have the exposure to this genre to compare it to anything.

So what do the rest of you think?

Bondo

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2015, 04:16:14 PM »
Have you seen The Myth of the American Sleepover, the director's previous film? I liked that quite a bit as well.

I agree that the swimming pool scene is a bit of an anticlimax. There is a certain "neat" aspect in how the items they set up to zap It end up being useful in those who cannot see It being able to still target It, but how the scene plays out kind of reveals a gap in the logic of the monster. Can the monster actually be killed. The ending makes us want to think the answer is no, but maybe that's just our paranoia about people walking in straight lines. I was pondering whether the effect of blood spreading through the water was meant to evoke menstruation in some way, if part of the terror of sex is risk of pregnancy, then this release of blood is the monster being killed, the danger avoided until next time. In this way it makes sense that the monster is both killed and not killed, because as long as she's sexually active, the risk will always recur.

Anyway, the film was captivating on first watch. At first I thought it was thematically not as rich but in the couple weeks since I saw it things like what I wrote above (which I hadn't thought about until I was typing it here) keep coming up that make me appreciate it more and more.

FlickingDC

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2015, 10:38:45 PM »
I enjoyed this while I was watching it, was captivated. The visuals and sound grab your attention, and I did find the creepiness effective. So I'm glad I saw it, would recommend.

That said, maybe it's too early and it will sink in differently as I just saw it, but I'm left with some pretty nagging questions at just the basic level of: would that character really do that? I don't mind wacky premises if the reactions are believable, and here there are some things that don't add up for me. One, why would Paul sleep with Jay after it was so clear that the evil was real? Is this some kind of metaphor for wanting someone so much that you're willing to take on any risk, including a deadly STD? The connection with STDs is so obvious that I figure there has to be more going on here, but I'm not sure what it is.

Also, and maybe I'm just slow here and missing something, but why do these kids have so much time to do nothing but hang out day after day? And where are the other people in Jay's house? Who actually lives there besides Jay and her sister? And what was up with that disturbing scene with Greg and his mother?

I'm cool with mystery, but there are so many questions here that I'm having trouble making even basic sense out of it. And yet, it's so skillfully done, and the actors are engaging enough, that it definitely held my attention and had me on the edge of my seat, which I guess can be enough for me out of this kind of movie.

Bondo

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2015, 11:08:29 PM »
Well, likening it an STD, the situation with Paul is he likes her, she does the ethical thing and tells him she has this STD and they decide the risk is worth it. They can't let their lives be dominated by the risk but unlike the unsafe (ignorant of the danger) sex earlier in the film. Also, I think that happens after the pool scene, so arguably the curse is lifted at that point.

I think the thing with general lack of parents and general freedom was more in keeping as homage to classical teen horror. It probably can't hold up to logical examination and probably shouldn't be held to it. I'm trying to remember but the disturbing scene with Greg and mother is when It takes the form of his mother, no?

FlickingDC

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2015, 04:17:21 PM »
Yes, on all counts, including her having sex with Paul after the pool scene, so it makes sense that they're thinking things are different now. And very true about it being classic teen horror to not have the parents around, which I guess is why the "cabin in the woods" is such a cliche. Of course, the cabin in the woods also takes care of the police and cell phones, and one thing that struck me about this premise was that it works great for a horror movie set in present day right in the middle of a suburban town in broad daylight. Actually, this film deals especially well with the police angle, not playing it up too much explicitly--it's just obvious that they can't do much when you're being chased by an evil that no one can see.

One thing I have to mention is that opening scene. Very effective and haunting having the girl running around terrified in the early morning hours, where you sense she is sane and really believes she's being chased by something but no one else can help her. Alone in a crowd. But do you think they shot that scene once all the way through and then the director came in and said, okay, one more time in heels?

Bondo

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2015, 04:31:59 PM »
That opening scene, and the movie theatre, are both greater in hindsight once you know the nature of It. It is just brilliant construction because it is so eerie watching it as an ignorant viewer at that point of the film yet fits perfectly with what we come to understand.

Junior

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2015, 01:58:14 PM »
I think the movie loses a little steam as it goes and not only because it literally slows down, but also because the inventiveness of the first half or so fades away outside of elements of the final confrontation (I wish there was more stuff like the blanket, and did anybody else notice that the thing was taking the form of her father in that scene?). I like your interpretation of the blood, Bondo, and will keep it in mind when I do a rewatch later in the year (probably).
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FlickingDC

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2015, 09:46:18 PM »
Just rewatched. On second viewing, for some reason the movie really got me thinking about how provocative art is in part about finding that balance between suggesting ideas without outright coming out and declaring them. If you just flat out say what you have on your mind, that might be philosophy or an essay, but not art. On the other, if you draw a pretty picture, it might be art, but perhaps not the kind that is provocative in the sense of getting under your skin so you're still pondering its meaning days later. I think "It Follows" hits the balance pretty well. There's plenty suggested but it's ambiguous enough that it's open to interpretation. I think it works on the level of the basic mechanics of a horror movie and also has enough allegory to get you thinking. But I'm not ready to say it's something uniquely genius or that will stick with me for a long time. It's suggestive, memorable, haunting, which is good enough for me. But not sure it's especially deep or complex.

Bondo

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2015, 11:00:15 AM »
Have I mentioned how much I love, love, love talking and thinking about It Follows? Here's the director going over different survival tactics.

I think he's spot on in thinking that explaining too much in the film would ruin it, and I like interviews like this to just kind of ponder things out. A lot of the answers here set up "that would be a cool scene" but probably wouldn't fit into a plot. I am especially happy to see this:

Quote
Keeping to same-sex hookups

No. According to Mitchell, the monster is not heteronormative. It will follow anyone. If its sex, it counts. The monster would not discriminate in regards to sex and whether its heterosexual or homosexual. The monster will follow you.

This responds directly to a question I asked at my Q&A for the film. Truth told, I don't think I want a singular, consistent logic to the monster. Once I hit on the idea that the blood in the pool was menstruation/miscarriage and It was a pregnancy threat in part (okay, so even that doesn't mesh to when the men are targeted by It), it would mean that same-sex intercourse and contraception would be protections. On the other hand, I think one can take a more multi-faceted approach to It. We know It is a shape-shifter, so it probably follows logically that its metaphorical threat can shift. So it can be the pregnancy threat while also being the STD threat or the incest threat or any other sexual threat. And as the director mentions in the piece, abstaining may save you from It, but having no sexuality is its own kind of threat.

I'm not saying I want a sequel for It Follows, because sequels, but I'd watch it.

Alan Smithee

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2015, 01:51:58 AM »
What is the teacher reading from in class? Is that Dostoevsky's The Idiot as well?