David Robert Mitchell’s film It Follows takes place in a Detroit suburb built in the 70s and 80s that has lost its pristine manicure, leaving cracked concrete and weathered siding as a backdrop.
The smart tension in the film builds in layers. One layer is the teen life in summertime – sipping soda on the front lawn, sleepovers, trips to the beach, and even backseat sex. Curiously, no adults or or even extras appear. An occasional police cruiser signifies investigators at a crime scene, whom we never meet. Nonetheless, these ordinary characters and their rituals become unsettled when paranormal forces begin to “follow” individuals. Eventually all the teens are prisoners of this menace.
Some critics say this is a smart, and well-done horror film, and others say it has the feel of an art film. There is no orchestral score that crescendos to long screams of terror. Instead, silence is broken with well-placed and unexpected sounds and other effects, which evoke audible gasps from the audience. In one instance, camera shots place the viewer as voyeur of sex, undermined by the uneasy feeling that danger could leap into the frame at any moment.
For those who like the melodramatic style of vampires, millions of zombies, and special effects in haunted mansions, this is not the movie to see; but for those who like a fresh approach to psychological terror, go see this movie.