Saturday, March 14, 2015
IT FOLLOWS (2015)
Written & Directed By David Robert Mitchell
Cinematography By: Mike Gioulakis
Editor: Julio Perez IV
Cast: Maika Monroe, Kier Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe, Jake Weary, Daniel Zovatto, Bailey Spry, Claire Sloma
For nineteen-year-old Jay, Autumn should be about school, boys and week-ends out at the lake. But after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, she finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, something, is following her. Faced with this burden, Jay and her friends must find a way to escape the horrors that seem to be only a few steps behind.
This is a film best to go into blind, but if you insist on reading this review. You can't say I didn't warn you. As it isn't spoiler heavy. It does get into certain details not necessarily plot breakdowns.
Definitely better then more recent efforts of the genre. This one takes a more serious tone. While it is certainly an homage to 80's horror films and John Carpenter in particular. Especially with the synth heavy score. That is just as haunting as the images, luckily the film is smart enough to be original and have it's own identity.
Now while this is a film definitely worth seeing. I enjoyed the film quite a bit. Though not the films fault it didn't live up to the mythic expectations I had. Now I realize most audience members will go in blind or expect a general genre exercise. This film has something special. As even after watching it I find myself still thinking about it haunted. So obviously it didn't work against it.
It is a much needed shot In the arm for the genre. Casting actors who look the age of their characters. It seems to be set in the 80's though has inventions of modern technology in minor use. Though the set design looks more like the past. It feels like a film that could have come from that time. With that simple quality it instantly makes the film feel timeless.
Seeing Maika Monroe is a joy. As this is the second film she has been in that is a sleeper. Once again the films quality is excellent and she is at the center of it giving a believable gutsy performance.
At first the film has intricate camera angles and symmetry of shots as it's style which is impressive at first and then when it threatens to become distracting it wisely eases off or it might be you get so used to it. It becomes less and less noticeable.
This film works more on mood and atmosphere there are a few jump scares and barely a scene of violence. It more gives off a constantly creepy mood as well as staying highly suspenseful throughout. It is enjoyable as it is a horror film that doesn't rely so much on gore or gratuitous nudity even though there is a sexual element that runs throughout the film. It never feels exploitive.
What is so unique about the film is that in shaping the scenes and the film. Is that it leaves the true horror and terror to our imagination. We dread what is around the corner more then what is shown. Now in the hands of lesser directors it looks lazy or like it is going for a more lite rating. Here it is used masterfully so that it keeps you on edge and off center. It also manages to use the power of suggestion as a key to it's power.
It also is unusual for this type of film, that all of the characters are likable and stick together.While there is jealously there is no shifting allegiances nor out right enemies or rivalries and no last minute villains.
The camera at times let's us be right there with the characters like we are part of the actions of the group, but also allows us to step back and more be a bystander and examine the actions.
One thing that kind of annoyed me is that I understand the need of the supporting characters to constantly be around. I just wish for some characters they had more to do then. Just stand around and occasionally say something. Where they serve little to no purpose and feels like extra baggage. In any other horror film they would be like the new character on the show STAR TREK who beams down with the rest of the regular crew who you know is going to not make it back and most likely a victim.
The film accomplishes much with it more limited budget and shows what can be Accomplished with ideas, imagination and creativity, more than elaborate special effects and action sequences.
It's hard not to see this as partly a metaphor for std's it also seems somewhat intense yet sleepy throughout. While it plays like a more dramatic urban legend come to life and forcefully out of nowhere like it was willed into existence to break up this dreamscape of a town and atmosphere. Also an allegory of the characters moving beyond their small town beginnings to the bigger city, Coming back home time to time changed even damaged, from what they have experienced coming back wiser, but closed off.
The film also emphasizes that certain bonds whether you want to destroy or nurture never go away and keep coming back to haunt you.
The film's concept derives from a recurring nightmare the director used to have, where he would be stalked by a predator that continually walked slowly towards him. He still tries to be more poetic in his atmosphere and shots.
There are continuous locations of bodies of water and the encounters around them.
Now I am all for leaving things ambiguous and it's a brave choice that luckily works here as it leaves the audience with many questions and not feeling gyped if not directly explained to is. Having said that the ending is disappointing almost as if they either didn't have one or like they painted themselves into a corner and know there would be nothing too satisfying. Leaving the film feeling like it continues more unsatisfying as it offers no closure. Now while it is a brave choice and shows a kind of maverick attitude. It ultimately feels a little sad as we have gotten to know these characters and care about them and now are left with not knowing what can happen to them. Was it intentional just in case the film was a hit to leave instant room for a sequel?
This is the second film i have seen directed by David Robert Mitchell and interestingly enough this one centers around teenagers again only this time they are more older and this is a horror film. His last one a drama. Though like in his last one. adult characters are seldom scene and In this one their faces are barely shown or in focus for long periods of time to really register.
Though it is in the horror genre this film feels like something different an original beast.
It's a chilling film that keeps you guessing and scared of what is lurking around the corner and in the dark. with paralyzing long takes of single long take shots.
This is definitely a film that is better to en experienced in a theater and no matter what you think. You will get a welcome surprise from this film.
Also just to let some of you know the theater in the film featured at the beginning of the film is The Redford Theatre, a historic Japanese style theatre with a fully functioning Wurlitzer organ, in Redford, MI.