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With: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Daniel Zovatto, Lili Sepe, Jake Weary
Written by: David Robert Mitchell
Directed by: David Robert Mitchell
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing violent and sexual content including graphic nudity, and language
Running Time: 100
Date: 03/15/2015

It Follows (2015)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Pass It On

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

With his sophomore feature, writer-director David Robert Mitchell (The Myth of the American Sleepover) has created nothing less than an honest-to-goodness horror masterpiece. It draws from classical influences, mainly Halloween and The Thing, but it feels startlingly fresh. It has been a long time since horror fans were treated to a movie that used widescreen cinematography, physical locations (near Detroit, Michigan), and three-dimensional space in such a haunting way; this is the opposite of the usual shaky-cam, "found footage" stuff that dominates the genre.

In the suburbs of Detroit, a group of friends are on the verge of adulthood, becoming independent, thinking about sex. Pretty blonde Jay Height (Maika Monroe) has met a boy (Jake Weary) and decides to fool around with him. Afterward, he chloroforms her and explains that he has passed on something to her. An evil being will now begin following her. It doesn't run and doesn't speak. It can appear as anyone. It only walks, but it continues walking, directly toward you, until it finds you. Jay must not let it touch her, and to get rid of it, she must sleep with someone else. She and her friends try to come up with ways to escape, or to thwart it. But the rules of the game are not nearly as straightforward as they sound.

Moreover, it delves into extremely primal themes, specifically how sex ushers teens into adulthood, but never in any kind of magical, transformative way. It's more like a momentary distraction, followed by confusing, conflicting emotions. In this movie, sex becomes a strategic choice more than a desire. Mitchell goes a bit further by using water as a creepily fascinating metaphor, and isolating the teens in this world, with adults infrequently and only marginally seen. He throws in quotes from T.S. Eliot and Dostoyevsky -- and clips from Killers from Space (1954) -- while the truly frightening musical score by Rich Vreeland (a.k.a. "Disasterpiece") goes to work on your nerves. It Follows is both scary enough to please horror fans and deep enough to inspire term papers.

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