Coming of Age While Something is Coming for You

“It Follows” reminds me very much of a song from Fantasy by Dye. Both seem like a dream, or to be more accurate a nightmare. Both also have something related to sex and the consequence of such the act. Both also has something to say about the woman’s gaze.  “It Follows”, however, is a lot more in depth and contains much meaning considering it is a full film with a lot of interpretations. For most of these interpretations, the creature in this horror film is a representation of an STD.

An STD is passed on during sex, and is highly possible for teenagers to catch it because of their explorative nature. Sex, is strong within a young adult who also is about to reach adulthood. In it is in this phase in life where the individual feels lost, bored, confused, and willing to explore what life has. “It Follows” gives of that feel through the cinematography, sounds, and even in certain scenes like the scene where Jay is just floating in the pool. The entire premise feels like a dream I had as a child, but after hearing it in class that the inspiration for this film was also a dream, or more of a nightmare, I realized that this must be a normal if not universal thing. A nightmare where something, or someone is chasing you. No matter how much you run, or hide it would always keep up. Your movements feel sluggish and sometimes I am suspended in the air. During these nightmares, I’d wake up and run to my parents, bedroom because I know that they can protect me.

It can also be seen that there isn’t much intervention from adults throughout the film. Just Jay and her friends battling their odds. This makes it scarier because normally children would rely on their parents for protection. The characters in the film aren’t adults yet, but they aren’t children either, it’s this middleness that makes it scarier because they don’t know how to deal with problems from the real world. They don’t yet understand the consequences their choice of actions would lead to and how dangerous they are, like an STD from choosing to have sex, or teenage pregnancy. We can see the need of this childhood protection through Hugh’s decision to pick the little boy during the game they played in the theater.

The perspective used in the film is Jay’s perspective, a woman’s perspective and throughout the entire film this view is an anxious one. Always looking around, checking every nook and cranny for the imminent danger that lurks. The danger sees Jay wherever she goes and can follow her anywhere.

The gaze is very important in “It Follows” throughout the entire film we either see Jay looking around and keeping an eye out for the creature, or we see any of the other male characters gazing upon Jay. Jay is subjected to the male gaze. According to Linda Williams, women when under the gaze of men are made vulnerable and weak. Williams also mentions that when it is the woman that gazes she is punished for it. In the film, we see Jay constantly being gazed upon and in these times, she is usually in her most vulnerable. An example of this is during the pool scene where Jay is floating, relaxing, while being stared by younger boys. Another is when she is in the comfort of her bathroom, only in her undergarments and checking a very private part of her, we see a boy peeping through the window. In fact, the entire film Jay is seen as hopeless and vulnerable. We see that she has no way of telling when and where the creature would appear, and this creature, as I mentioned, is constantly focusing its gaze on Jay.

When Jay looks, however, she is punished through the anxiousness, and the signal of her imminent death. She panics, she is frightened, she sees something that she wishes she would never see again. It doesn’t matter what form it takes, or who’s form it takes as long as she sees it she knows she’s in trouble. As side from the fact that Jay herself is constantly being gazed upon, Jay too gazes continuously. From the very beginning she gazes upon others. We can see this in the theater when she was with Hugh. Jay proposes a game where they would look around and pick someone they wish they could swap with and have a reason. Then the other person would have to guess. This felt like a premonition because first of all, they both have to look around and gaze at each person. Secondly, they needed to identify a certain person. The creature works the same way where you’d have to keep a lookout and figure out who the creature is.

Overall, watching “It Follows” made me anxious about what you can see if you were to look around. You’d get the feeling of someone watching you and the feeling that someone might just turn from a corner and come towards you, chasing you. It also shows the fear that your parents won’t be able to help you once you’re past a certain age and you must face the problem yourself. To make matters worst, only you can see this problem. Sex, is still a scary topic in society. Despite, several accepted norms there is still that uncertainty regarding pregnancy and the passing of STDs, or whether the person you’re doing it with won’t fuck you over after (pun intended).

 

P.S. How did that girl run with heels on at the start? The creature can’t get past walls, so couldn’t they trap it in a sealed vault or something similar? So what if, Jay went to another country?

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