It Follows is a 2014 supernatural psychological horror film by David Robert Mitchell. The film is about a seemingly girl next-door type of chic that was raped which led to her trauma and being followed by IT. By saying that she is followed by it, does not mean that it is a spiritual and out of this world being, however the only person who could see it is the carrier.
The story starts with Jay, the protagonist, and her new boyfriend as they leave the cinema when Hugh pointed a girl only he could see. On another night, Hugh passed on what he had to Jay when they had sex. Upon waking up, Jay is introduced to “it”, a half naked girl slowly walking towards her and it was explained that she has to run away from the entity because it will kill her once it gets hold of her and that only she can see the monster. The movie makes you in the look in your back because you’d never know when the entity would attack and there’s nothing you could do but run.
In the article by Linda Williams’, “When the woman looks,” she discusses that more often than not girls point of view are undermined of that the opposite sex, which we evidently see in the movie. Jay despite being the protagonist of the film became an object to Hugh. He even went as far as faking his identity so that he could just pass it on to Jay. Before eventually taking control of her destiny, Jay was subjected to scrutiny and was guarded because it was thought to be the best for her. As she passed “it” on to another male, we see that Jay was able to take control. Before the demise of Greg, the narrative seems to sweep the problem under the rug. When the entity killed someone they all knew, that was when they realized it was serious.
In addition to that, Williams add that within the patriarchal society, the male gaze sees a woman and monster in equal footing. However, the female gaze sympathizes with the monster seeing herself in it. In the initial passing of the entity Jay was led to believe that it is nothing. The male gaze being the society convinces her that it was not true, leaving her defenseless when it arrived. However, when Greg possessed it that was when they opened their eyes. Because in the bench scene, all of them were skeptical about the entity as they could not see it. And despite experiencing its physical form, they were unsure of whether to believe Jay or not.
There is certainly some kind of parallelism of what we described as IT with sexual transmitted diseases as these sickness could only be transferred in sexual activities, which the film actively portrays when the girl passed it into his friends when they had sex. The film corrupts the girl in what she thought would be an idealistic first time when she was raped. Eventually, she got hold of her sexuality leading to to a decision to not care at all, because she just wants to get rid of it. .
Much likened to the invisibility of IT is the realization that people with STD do not share their condition to others, because there is a perception of people with STD are unclean. Before Jay’s friend saw and experienced IT, they believed that she was going crazy. However with their encounter, her friends doubled down on protecting her even helping her get rid of the entity. Akin to the movie, people with STD often keep their conditions secret, which makes the slut shaming culture an important point to raise. Most often than not, the victim is blamed for things the perpetrator has done. We could see that in the movie, when Jay was seen in a different light following her incident. She was judged by their peers, however when people realized that the entity was real, they rose to the cause.
Overall, I was frightened by the film. It was a good kind of scare. I was made aware of the monster when it was approach yet I still was watching out for it every time. I especially enjoyed the fight scene, where Jay actively took control and was not afraid anymore. Along with her friends, she tried to get rid of the entity by killing it. It was quite a character development for Jay. At first, she was a kid that was confident that turned afraid but the fight scene builds her persona back up into someone who took control.