The film It Follows (2014) is an interesting take on the horror film genre and its take on modern day feminism. The story follows Jay, an obviously beautiful girl and how she ended up with the curse. Throughout the beginning of the movie, Jay’s beauty was always emphasized by everyone around her and I think this set up the context of the film right away as something that involved the female gaze. “The woman’s exercise of an active investigating gaze can only be simultaneous with her own victimization. The woman’s gaze is punished, in other words, by narrative processes that transform curiosity and desire into masochistic fantasy.” (Williams). We see this claim come into fruition as it is Jay’s attractiveness that got Hugh’s attention and which eventually got the curse passed on to her.
With the film, I would also like to touch on the concept of the passing of the curse from victim to victim. In the film it shows that the curse or what follows you is slow moving and only you can see it coming but if you let it catch up to you, it will kill you. Being passed the curse is something you don’t see coming and as someone who is unsuspecting, you would never think to question the partner you are sleeping with. In a way, I saw a lot of similarities with this concept and sexually transmitted diseases especially with HIV/AIDS. I think this film tried to portray a lot of the issues that teenagers face today with unprotected sex and even premarital sex. Just like the curse in the movie, STDs like HIV/AIDS are slow moving and with the right medicine, it can be prolonged. However, once it catches up with you, and it will, the victim will definitely succumb to the disease and die.
It Follows was a great film for me which had great pacing and just the right amount of scares. More importantly, it spoke to me on a millennial level given that the characters were also young and were experiencing things I naturally see in my generation everyday. I think not a lot of films nowadays will show a woman who is comfortable with her sexuality and the one being actively pursuing men instead of the other way around. In this day and age, it is so easy to get labelled a “slut” or a “whore” when people feel like you are too casual with sex. This film discusses real issues at the same time that it’s a horror and thriller and I think that’s what makes it all the more terrifying. The touch of reality makes it all the more closer to home for all its younger viewers.
The ending wherein Jay passed the curse to Paul was unexpected for me but when it was shown that Jay and Paul were walking down a sidewalk with someone following them felt right. It showed that Jay was having a hard time dealing with the curse on her own but with Paul right there with her, it made the cross easier to bear. I think same goes with the analogy of HIV/AIDS and any other sexually transmitted diseases where it is easier to go through this challenge as long as you have someone supporting you.