A beautiful young girl Jay (Maika Monroe) gets sexually engaged with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary) in a car, the slow romantic teenage dream suddenly shifts into a ‘rape-like’ scene wherein she she learns that she was used as a carrier for a evil curse that gets transmitted to persons you have sex with. The curse is that an extra scary person usually looking like a friend, a neighbor, or someone you know who will follow you and brutally kill you. The caveat is the ‘it’ that follows you is invisible to everyone else except you, another consequence of this is that people around the carrier of the curse will trip and begin to judge for someone crazy. So as Jay’s friends don’t believe her paranoid story until they witness themselves the invisible killer the friends team up to defeat this ‘it’ that follows them.
It Follows seems for me to be a slow paced movie. I don’t like how the plot is so linear and there are no exciting twists to it or some weird shocking discovery. It’s just a group of teenagers dealing with the paranoia of a young girl, and soon enough they themselves get convinced of the reality of this ‘it’. However, slow paced it might be it gave a slow burning horror effect where you have to stare into the object of horror as it slowly moves in towards you. Unlike horror movies with shock effects, this movie employs a different kind of scare tactic by making you suffer looking for ‘it.’ There was also intense paranoia as the monster can take any form, and it could be anyone you know and that the monster also employs wits tricking people, using doors, fighting back. Another site of paranoia is that the monster appears whenever it wants to appear randomly without any pattern, it could happen anywhere between a conversation or when people aren’t paying attention to you. This brand of horror itself seems to be sufficient enough stimulus for me to be sitting in at the edge of my seat.
Analysis of the film
In Linda Williams’ article “When The Woman Looks”, Williams assert that in some horror films the woman exists only to be objectified by a dominant male. This fits the It Follows perfectly in the way the burning gaze of the monster looks at Jay, it kind of shows that intent to objectify Jay as a subject to be possessed, an objective to checked out of the list or easily a victim to be killed. The desire look of the male-voyeur effects a woman’s look of horror. Constantly it is seen how shookt Jay looks and feels every time this monster would show up anywhere. “For where the (male) voyeur’s properly distanced look safely masters the potential threat of the (female) body it views, the woman’s look of horror paralyzes her in such a way that distance is overcome”. The mode of predatory move needs not to close in the distance to effect a horror situation for the woman, only the gaze itself is sufficient to put her under his face of power. “At the same time, this look momentarily shifts the iconic center of the spectacle away from the woman to the monster”. Whenever the monster appears, “It” doesn’t appear in a blurred backdrop the focus stays on “It” allowing the viewers to see the impending threat or better to say the realized threat that it is. As soon as the monster looks upon the woman, the state of shock and curiosity in a state of passivity allows the monster to master her and behold her.
The nature of the curse can also be looked upon and analyzed further, we can see it in the lens of science where the curse can actually be a metaphor for an unknown communicable disease. The horror lies in the ‘unknown’ part, where did this disease originate from, and the lack of knowledge sets a stage for the fear of the unknown. Again, the curse has its curious aspects in which it is specifically transmitted through sex, can this be a metaphor to AIDS or HIV that a certain kind of reality of horror and paranoia is perceived by those subjected to it? Imagine the paranoia of contracting AIDS back in the 70’s, where it is rumored that having sex too much can cause it, or even having intercourse with the same sex can cause it. It kind of causes a repression to controlling the human bodies and a darkly horrific experience for one who experience it. It also proses a dead lock in which you cannot kill the curse only pass it down. Much like how we can never get rid of the disease and it only survives as it is passed on to persons.
Overall, the film was more of yes-I-like it enough than too boring for me to appreciate. I would watch again but not of my own volition, maybe if my friend invited me to do so.