This sophomore film from young writer-director David Robert Mitchell starts off with all the trappings of a great old school, scary movie—complete with wide-angle shots and electronic music to build suspense. Viewers immediately find themselves in a quaint urban neighborhood at nightfall, watching as a teenage girl darts from her house in a sheer panic, attempting to outrun “It”…the ominous killer—and true star—of this horror film.
A creepy, suspenseful beginning shines light on the rampant dangers lurking for the teens in this small community; a sexually transmitted death sentence awaits these young adults who carry a pathogen in their bodies. Those infected are stalked by zombie-like killers to face certain death unless they can pass along their troubles to someone else through, of course, more casual sex. A perfect solution and message to our Next Gen of teenagers…don’t worry about solving your problems if you can just give them to someone else, right? At this point, the film has already peaked and only disappoints in the remaining hour of silliness.
An interesting movie concept with significant potential early on, unravels into poor editing, bad acting and even worse storytelling. Director Mitchell either ran out of ideas or money in the final two acts of this low-budget production. Great music and suspenseful set-ups transform what could have been an instant, cult horror classic into an incomplete and silly assault on seriousness. Despite clever camera work and a powerful statement on the dangers of casual sex, Mitchell never truly fulfills his storytelling promise to audiences due to the film’s abrupt, callous ending.
“It Follows” packs a strong message on sexual promiscuity and has several jumpy, out-of-your-seat moments. Shot mostly using wide-angle camera lenses, the film looks and sounds like horror movies from the past—a la John Carpenter’s 1982 classic “The Thing”. Unfortunately, the comparisons end there. With a running time of only 1 hour and 34 minutes, more thoughtful and compelling presentations can be found on cable television series like “The Walking Dead”. Bluntly edited scenes and a conclusion missing altogether, pinpoint the homework for young, rising director Mitchell. Horror film enthusiasts who want glimpses into the suspense created from old-style electronic music and accompanying wide-angle shots, will find those traits plentiful in this movie. However, those wanting to see a film’s story make it to the finish line will be disappointed. Perhaps the title “It Follows” was Mitchell’s humorous presage, pointing audiences towards a sequel to find a conclusion to this movie.
‘It Follows’ is rated R, for disturbing violence, graphic nudity, language. Running time is 1 hour, 34 minutes.
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