It Follows

Sometimes I would think of scenarios in my head about the possibility of strange occurrences happening in real life. My brother and I love exchanging countless weird and impossible things that we would throw at each other and answer. An example is what we would do if there happened to be a zombie apocalypse in the world. Where would we go, who would we team up with and whether or not we will survive. It Follows would probably fall under this topic of conversation.

I liked the concept of the film because it is something different. The “monster” following you is invisible (no one can see it but you) and the only way you can stop it from chasing and killing you is by having sexual intercourse with another human being. It is such an interesting idea. The uncertainty of “it” is  also mind-boggling. The audience sees different forms of “it” through different and distorted people. In the  case of the teenagers it is a physical entity stalker. But metaphorically speaking it may also mean something else besides a shape-shifting demon. First, “it” can be a disease — transmitted through sex (HIV/Aids). Second, “it” may also be a unique experience, since no one can really get what the victim is going through without it being passed to him/her. The whole thing reminded me of the domino effect and how quick it can spread once it is passed on to another.  Third, “it” may also be the fear of the unknown and the unfamiliar. Since everyone did not seem to understand where the “it” actually came from or how it started, it is classified as an unidentified object — an unworldly being.

The thing that scared me the most was the idea that the monster was invisible. I find it such a hassle if you are the only one who can see something attacking you. You will be branded as a crazy  person to many. The sudden appearances and shape shifting powers of “it” also gives me chills. You never know when it will happen or who it will be, it will just surprise you. What stressed me out also was the semi-permanence of the condition. Once

John Clute’s 4 movements in horror film can be applied in this film. First, there is the sighting, in which the audience in the beginning was introduced to a girl running from something only she can see. Second, thickening occurs, wherein the main character, Jay goes on a date with her new guy, Hugh, who also saw something he could only see in the cinema. Layers are peeled as it is revealed to the audience that the situation of the girl in the beginning is also happening to another character. Third, there is revel, wherein Hugh warns Jay about the curse. This is the exposure of the “other world.” At last, the audience can see what two of the previous characters have been experiencing through Jays’ eyes.   Lastly, the aftermath, where everything just blows into proportions. The constant running happens here.

Linda Williams explains in her work, “When the Woman Looks,” that “The woman’s gaze is punished, in other words, by narrative processes that transform curiosity and desire into masochistic fantasy.” The power to mutilate and transform the vulnerable male. She also explains that “The woman’s look of horror paralyzes her in such a way that distance is overcome; the monster or the freak’s own spectacular appearance holds her originally active, curious look in a trance-like passivity that allows him to master her through her look.” There are different implications of the gaze of the monster-woman according to a further study on William’s work. First, it can mean that the woman is attempting power in the situation. By looking at the monster, she is facing her fears and weaknesses. Second, it can also mean that she may be triggering her punishment. When she looks, she is faced with terror and may therefore lead to an accident or her death. Lastly, the gaze can also mean that she is submitting. By looking at the monster, the woman also accepts the consequences (even death.) In that short span of time when their eyes are locked on one another, she is somehow submitting herself to the mercy of the monster.

I think the overall theme of the film was psychological backed up with sexual repression. I saw the psychological part in terms of the victims’ paranoia and anxiety towards “it.” I think it can be equated to mental illness also. How people clinically diagnosed with anxiety may start imagining scenarios that are not actually happening.  On the other hand, I saw the sexual element part as a sort of warning for the youth. I thought that it was a clever way to scare the younger generation into engaging in pre-marital sex.


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


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