Following a Film Formula

The way the scenes were filmed in the 2014 “It Follows” reminded me of that of an 80s film with the transitions of the scenes including “en route” footage, as well as the background music. As the audience, you get the feeling of being a part of the journey with this filming technique, as the director inputs moving road scenes as a way to anticipate where the actors will go next, and perhaps also what event will occur. In the context of cinematography, this kind of framing is that of point of view shot in which you can see what the character’s’ perspective themselves. Specifically for the horror genre, I feel that this kind of framing is quite necessary whenever the auteur is trying to involve the audience as if they were also a part of the experience, which also eventually makes them more invested in the story – making the fear brought about by the film more effective that way. In addition to that, the combination of switching levels of beats along with the lack of lyrics in the songs chosen for the movie’s soundtrack gave that perfectly eerie and creepy vibe which was paired perfectly well the different scenes which to me gave added anticipation before something new would happen.

I actually didn’t expect Jay and her friends to end up trying to defeat the supernatural being chasing her. Rather, I was expecting a different angle to resolving her issue – perhaps discovering and investigating more about the issue at hand with someone more familiar with it, and then getting advice from there as to how to go about their difficult situation. This is how David Mitchell plays it out though, which is an interesting turn of events as the climax unravels and the audience is already glued into wanting to know how the story will end. He played a lot with themes that were done before, but kept things unique with the way he unraveled different scenes. The characters in the movie too were quite stereotypical in nature, but were all similar in the sense that they were utilised to be there for Jay as her guide in trying to defeat the monster that was after her.
In Linda Williams’ text, she goes about the power of the gaze, especially by the leading woman in any film. Particularly in the context of the horror film, she digs deeper in showing what happens when a woman looks at the monster in both the classic and modern pieces. In the movie “It Follows” you tend to notice that Jay has a certain look towards the monster that has been cursed to follow her around after the passover from her sexual intimacy with her supposed ex-boyfriend. You see from her a gaze a combination of fear, curiosity, and anxiety as to how she can somehow defeat the cycle of being follow and life threatened. Like the example given by Williams on the 1925 version of “The Phantom of the Opera”, you can compare this to that of whenever in “It Follows” the audience in some scenes can first see the monster lurking even before the lead female character gets her own glimpse and eye contact with it. There is then anticipated and a sudden rush of horror from the audience’s end for the Jay even before she knows it. It is a good technique for the director to practice such ways of filming, because it brings me back to the idea of a film having factors that make the audience feel more involved than they expect to be. Eventually towards the latter part of the movie, when they’re trying to defeat the monster, you can see Jay in a more “powerful” light – one that you might expect more from a male lead. She seems to be so fed up with all the distress, that she pulls up all force to try and take the lead in luring the monster figure into the trap in hopes to finally defeating it once and for all. Compared to the other characters in this movie, you see Jay as someone who starts of a little bit weaker and vulnerable as compared to how she is converted to in the latter part of it. I’d say that she is more of a dynamic type of character because of the obvious change you see within her after she experiences all the troubles throughout the film. 

Reference:

Linda Williams, “When the Woman Looks”

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