August 6, 2015

It Follows (2014)

"A young woman is followed by an unknown supernatural force after getting involved in a sexual encounter."

I've tried several times to get all the way through "It Follows" in one sitting, but I can't do it. Either I don't have the attention span anymore (which is unlikely) or it's just too boring as shit for me to want to. Thus, this isn't going to be a review as much as it will be some general bitching about the parts of "It Follows" which I noted before hitting fast-forward to get the torture over with.

From reading through what some of my online friends had to say about this movie, I understand that "It Follows" is supposed to be all "faux retro"—and it clearly seems to appeal to the hipstery "millennial" demographic who ironically weren't even alive back in the '70s, '80s, or even the '90s—but surely it should be meant for people my age (mid-40s) in that case too? So why doesn't "It Follows" generate all those happy nostalgia feelings for me? What's wrong with this picture?

The simple fact of the matter is that "It Follows" isn't to my taste as a movie. Not only are its non-specific retro qualities forced, pretentious, and inconsistent, but the slow-paced story is a load of meaningless and padded drivel with no satisfactory explanation for the "creature" or any danger of a cathartic payoff at the end.

Although the acting and dialogue is fine, the characters are somewhat flat, unlikeable, and sexually unappealing, and are too young and from the wrong country to have any cultural relevance to me even with my obligatory suspension of disbelief. As I can't identify or sympathise with American teenagers, there's no development of pathos possible.

Most importantly, however, as is the case with all new horror movies, "It Follows" is not in the least bit scary!

You'd have to tie me to a chair to make me watch this movie ever again.

I've often encountered arguments where someone says that "scary" is subjective. Well, it is to a point. Some people have varying degrees of phobias about certain things, for instance, big hairy spiders, and some people don't have any fear of those things at all. But in the case of any "scary movie", it's pretty much failed in its purpose if it doesn't have a percentage of scary for even the lowest common denominator. There are also universals which can be identified as potentially scary for other people even if you aren't scared of those things yourself, but "It Follows" doesn't contain any of them. It may be R-rated, but it's not even worth bringing the extremely sparse and still not scary "gory bits" into this discussion.

What "It Follows" does have is a decent score which sounds like John Carpenter composed parts of it (except he didn't, it was Rich Vreeland), and some initial visual similarities to "Halloween" (1978). Of course, you can film nearly any residential streets in America during Autumn and they'll look a lot like the ones in "Halloween" because nothing architecturally important has changed in the last 40 or more years. Arguing about that aspect is clearly redundant. "It Follows" is set in Detroit, Michigan, rather than Haddonfield, Illinois (or really South Pasadena, California), which only reinforces my point that America looks the same everywhere anyway.

Another big homage is to Jacques Tourneur's "Cat People" (1942) which is apparent with the indoor swimming pool scene, but it's hardly an exact match and isn't meant to be. In fact, "It Follows" owes way more to "Final Destination" (2000) for the core of its narrative, plus Brundlefly's vain attempt to delay the inevitable from "The Fly" (1986), than anything which it tips blatant nods towards. Let's face it, if you really need an allegory about sexually transmitted diseases, Bram Stoker's "Dracula" will always be the classic. It doesn't exactly take a genius to see the similarities between vampire legends and "It Follows" either.

It needed more cats. Any cats. Cats would have made it better.

I'm not the kind of philistine who would ever be stupid enough to argue that David Robert Mitchell doesn't know how to make a movie or hasn't done a great job with "It Follows" when it comes to the outstanding cinematography (which only has a few glaringly ragged handheld shots), but it's the languid pace of this thing which kills it. I'm not joking when I say that if I had to watch this movie more than once, it would soon become my go-to fix for insomnia.

One final little rant and I'm done.

I've read a ton of stuff about Maika Monroe being the new "scream queen" of horror and all that usual crap, but I don't get it. Yeah, she's an above average actress as well as being a pretty-ish blonde with only occasionally annoying lapses into vocal fry and all that jazz (for those who care), but she's certainly no Fay Wray, Ingrid Pitt, Delphine Seyrig, or even an Edwige Fenech (who wasn't blonde). I think many people need to think before throwing that "scream queen" title about willy-nilly.

And since I've accidentally mentioned it, I couldn't care less about the nudity and "sexy bits". For one thing, I'm British and nudity doesn't bother me in the slightest, and second, even the tamest porn site on the internet will show you more than "It Follows" has to offer. I have to admit that Leisa Pulido playing Greg's mother is quite the MILF though.

There are simply some movies which you know right away aren't meant for you, and lamentably, I'll have to concede that "It Follows" wasn't meant for me.

If you feel like pointing out exactly which parts of "It Follows" an adult should find shit-yer-pants-scary, you can post them in the comments section below.

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