I watched It Follows with my friends and afterwards, they refer to it as the ghost STD movie, which basically sums up what happens in the movie. There is some kind of curse put on a person and would only be passed on through sexual intercourse.
I found this odd at first because I don’t get how curses can be passed on through sexual intercourse and I don’t get why the writers would have chosen this as the mode for transmission. As analysed in class, the “IT” can be metaphors for a lot of things and it can be open to interpretations of the people which I think would help in making sense of my questions from earlier. The group explained how “IT” can be interpreted as HIV or AIDS, gossip, or basically something unknown. It was not elaborated in the movie where this phenomenon originated.
The movie focuses on the victim which is the female lead character, Jay, which fits perfectly into Linda William’s discussion points in “When the Woman Looks”. Her first point is that “the woman only exists to be looked at” meaning that she is vulnerable to objectification of the dominant male which is depicted early in the movie where she was swimming in the backyard and little boys were spying on her because she was in a bikini. In addition, she was also objectified by Hugh who was already desperate to transfer the disease onto her. He showed interest in her and went out on a date with her just to get laid. Although what I liked about him is that he made the effort of explaining to her the “disease” he has passed onto her. He oriented her on the things she has to do and the things she has to avoid. However, he literally dropped her off at her house and speeded away, as if nothing happened. What makes it worse is that it was later discovered that he was from another state and has a girlfriend, everything he has told Jay was a cover meaning that he had no intention at all to genuinely start a relationship with her and was purely using her and treating her as an object that he can dump his baggage on.
The second point is that “the woman’s gaze is punished” and from what I understand of this, in relation to the movie, when the “ghost STD” was already passed on to her, she became more aware of her surroundings and was afraid most of the time, always looking. In a more realistic sense, for women, when they get looked at or stared at, they become vulnerable and returning the gaze creates the recognition that they are being looked which amplifies their uneasiness and vulnerability. Moreover, in the movie, when Jay would look afar or stare of into space, her friends become alert that maybe the “It” is near and makes them vulnerable to its violence as what happened in the beach when Jay’s friend tried to help her.
Another point is that the woman has “the power to mutilate and transform the vulnerable male” which means that the woman doesn’t have to be vulnerable all the time. As shown in the movie, at first, Jay hesitated to pass the disease and wasn’t particularly planning anything to counter her situation. But then she considers passing on the disease to another person, she becomes now the person in power and the one to objectify since she needs to “scout” for a guy to have sex with. Since both guys like her, the urge to protect her increases and either offer to be the one the disease is passed onto. She picks Greg eventually and tries to pass it as fast as he can but ends up getting caught by the “IT” and it is revealed to us how the “IT” kills the people which I found extremely weird. Moreover, she decided to fight back against the monster and goes to the pool from her childhood and attempts to kill the monster with her friends which again shows the power of the woman.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie even though I found some parts very disturbing especially the version of the monster in Jay’s house, it was a girl who seemed abused and was peeing while walking towards Jay. It didn’t scare me that much knowing that the monster was just walking towards the victim although there were occasional jump scares. The scene that scared me the most was when the form of the monster was a tall guy and she was behind her friend in the hall way. However, not everything was disclosed in the movie. Where did the “ghost STD” originate from? Were the versions of the ghost or forms of the ghost past victims? Why are they just walking? Did they really defeat the monster?
Linda Williams,“When the Woman Looks.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002)