STD – Sexually Transmitted Death

In my opinion the simplicity of the movie’s plot made for a really great horror film. The fact that it turns one of the most basic instincts of humans, our sexual desire, into some sort of weapon was an interesting and fascinating concept. For in the movie, whoever has sex with a person cursed with the “it follows” monster, will forever be pursued by it unless you transfer it to another person through the same way. The twist however is that once it is transferred, it was still possible for you to get the curse back if the curse wasn’t passed fast enough and the creature successfully reaches its most recent host.

It’s definitely a plot that is sure to grab the attention of a wide audience and based on it grossing over 14 million dollars with a budget of 2 million, it was a huge success. With such an intriguing concept it was sure to entice the curiosity of everyone that hears about it. A monster only you can see and will stop at nothing, walking ever so slowly but for certain will always be behind your back. Another great element of the film aside from the fact that the curse is transferred through sex is that the “IT” is such a great monster. It never failed to chill us to the bone whenever we would see it on screen in whatever shape or form it may be in. As soon as it reaches you, you will be murdered in horrendous fashion as seen from the opening scene where the victims legs are bent forward and blood surrounding her dead body. It was the perfect monster in a sense that no amount of fighting back would kill it. Even if you were to shoot it, electrocute it, it wouldn’t flinch. It would pursue you until it will inevitably reach you….just like death and our mortality.

In an interview with the films director, Mitchell, he describe “it” as a metaphor to death itself. And it’s quite interesting to see that a way of escaping “death” was through love and sex. Just as our mortal lives are only temporary and fleeting, it’s a good analogy that we should find purpose and meaning in life through love and family. Yeah, in the movie it maybe strictly sex which is the solution but in the end, it was the love coming from his friends that supposedly “conquered” evil. But all of these are just temporary ways of pushing death back. Which is why the last scene of the film was Jay walking towards the camera while an ominous figure was following them far away at the back. Death is something you can never truly escape from and is everybody’s inevitable destiny. A chilling truth and lesson fitting for a horror movie.

In Linda Williams’ “When the woman looks” she talks about the concern of women only being an object to be looked at. She exists only to be objectified by the more dominant male. And in the film, Jay was originally chosen by Hugh as the next victim of the curse thus totally disregarding her safety and treating her only as an object. Commonly women are treated as weak and defenseless in the face of danger, and for the first half of the film, Jay seemed to fit the bill quite perfectly. Although it may be that a woman’s look of horror may leave her paralyzed in some cases such as the first time she saw a figure chasing her, she soon learns how to run away from it leaving this state of passivity. Through the course of the film, we see her transform into a powerful woman, even a woman to be feared in some cases such as the time where she swam to a nearby boat to have sex and transfer the curse to random group of strangers just to buy herself some time. Here we begin to witness the true power of a woman’s gaze.  The difference is that when a woman looks at a monster, she recognizes it as something that is different and could relate to this fact since she herself is treated as different, weaker from males. Her gaze then has the power to mutilate and transform the vulnerable male that views her as unthreatening. It was only suitable that the main character of the film was female because a curse that is transferable through sex is a perfect plot to showcase this concept of a “woman’s gaze”. An attractive, seemingly defenseless woman who has the power to kill you through your objectification of her as only a sex object.

In general I really enjoyed the film. It managed to keep us engaged till the very end with its great use of cinematography and pacing. And despite it having a simple plot, it had deeper meanings buried under it which would please any film analyzer. It then makes it very easy to recommend to just about anyone since IT literally is easy to FOLLOW no matter what shape or form you may be.

Source: Linda Williams,“When the Woman Looks.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002)

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