It Follows begins how it ends.
A young woman runs from her suburban home half dressed, terrified, confused.
She crosses the road haphazardly, then runs back to her house picks up her bag and escapes in her car, with her father shouting after her trying to work out what the hell is going on.
It is not explained.
The movie then unfolds. No captions. No narrative. It just unwraps itself in a way I have never seen in horror.
Whilst it nods at convention (the music is unquestionably influenced by early John Carpenter and the cast is a bunch of Sorority kids) it is completely original in every other way.
It’s beautifully shot, carefully scripted without a single ham line and has a plot that is entirely unpredictable.
The basic premise is this. A “thing” (monster, demon, zombie, entity: call it what you like) is passed between couples having sex. And then it follows the ‘host’ until it is passed on to the next host, again following sex.
It manifests itself as a sort of walking zombie that follows the host. Should it catch them it will not only kill them but possibly all those in the chain behind.
That’s easy to understand. What isn’t is how our heroine Jay, played beautifully by Maika Monroe, attempts to resolve her plight. Really, this is a rare horror performance, understated and properly acted. Her fear is palpable. And she doesn’t go wandering into unlit basements every five minutes. It’s up there with Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween.
However, the plot becomes pretty confusing, but it kind of doesn’t matter because throughout this great movie you’re just taken in by its vitality, outstanding cinematography, freshness and the endless MacGuffins.
Seriously there must be 20 times you’re expecting to be scared to death (Hitchcock style musical and SFX builds) only for nothing to happen.
Anyone walking slowly in this movie could be the ‘entity’ and that’s repeatedly used as a trick.
Another great thing about it is the setting in Detroit. It’s never overplayed but it adds a decaying creepiness that is entirely appropriate.
It’s a great addition to the world of horror. Not as terrifying as some say, but absorbing and pure quality from start to startling finish.