Rated: R for disturbing violent and sexual content including graphic nudity, and language. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: March 27, 2015 Released by: Radius-TWC
This retro analog of the slasher film may be a cross between films like The Ring and Oculus which may likely appeal to a young adult demographic while its mature, taut intensity falters a bit in the final stretch. Still, during noticeable uncomfortable silences a deliberate apprehension can help tingle the spine with convincing menace.
It Follows stars Maika Monroe (Labor Day) in an autumnal suburban Michigan that also begins to add an ominou ambience felt in John Carpenter's seminal indie hit "Halloween" back in 1978. An invisible foreboding presence causes a tremulous teen in her nightwear to abruptly leave a seemingly secure family domicile.
A predator is revealed through sexual encounters as a girl in a yellow dress (unseen to many on-screen) has an effect on Monroe's Jay in the tight perspective with much atmospheric control by writer/director David Robert Mitchell. Synthetic reverberations are magnified discreetly in the score by Richard Vreeland.
A handsome beau, Hugh (Jake Weary), luridly explains to Jay about an infection (of the malediction variety) he has given to her which may have dire ramifications. So a hair-raising stealthy antagonist looms large upon intimacy as Jay enjoys her pool at home or lines up to see Charade at a local theatre. The carnal consequences stalk in cerebral fashion like a Michael Myers or Candyman (read: urban legend) to petrify in shape-shifting forms.
Mitchell's writing includes a fearful, fateful trek that is simultaneously bewildering and luring due to some heady, experiential widescreen lensing by Michael Gioulakis from arresting long takes to swirling panning shots to impart a visually sensitive vivid quality.
Follows has possible salvation emerging from the origins of a horrific hex thus proving the overall execution and staging of the material to have distinction in an oft-seen genre. But, It can often be oddly mesmerizing from the wacky, freakish portrait from Monroe who is more than a typical scream queen. And, besides Weary, the supporting cast of Lili Sepe as a younger sister, a bereft Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi as a friend, and a trendy Daniel Zovatto as a neighbor goes against the usual stereotypical nods, with Gilchrist and Zovatto in their interactions with Monroe, faring best.