It Follows


#1

So this indie (it looks indie to me but I can't tell half the time) horror flick has been getting extremely strong early buzz (45/1 at Rotten Tomatoes) and it's the upcoming podcast movie. Trailer here (youtube). Because of the buzz, I'm very interested in this one. I'm assuming it will be available on demand/the traditional non-traditional places, so I may carve out time to watch it this weekend (unless it actually shows up in a theater locally).


#2

Just read about this movie and it’s right out of a weird dream I had as a kid; A monster type thing walking slowly towards me, never pausing or changing pace, just walking towards me and if I ever let it reach me something not good would happen. All I could do was to keep moving around the world to maintain distance.

Of course it had no juicy sex parts like this one does, looks interesting.


#3

This is opening wider to 1200 theaters this weekend, and unlike TWC/Radius’ other releases that have focused on[I] simultaneous[/I] theatrical/VOD releases, it won’t be getting a VOD release until [I]after [/I]it’s theatrical run.

This is bad news if you were hoping to stay home and stream it. It’s also bad news for the experiment of simultaneous theatrical/VOD releases, which was never going anywhere anyway. Theater owners don’t want to waste a screen on movies that people are just going to watch at home.

But this is good news for It Follows, since it shows that TWC is confident it can be a box office player. Given that the usual box office horror movies are the mostly dumb fare from Blum House productions (Sinister 12, Insidious 841, Lazarus Effect), I’m happy to see something smart like It Follows getting a chance to earn a little fiscal respect. Hope you guys go check it out this weekend. My podcast cohorts and I loved it.

-Tom


#4

I hit pause on the podcast once you offered your helpful admonition to wait 'til you’ve seen the movie.

I’m planning on catching it this weekend, although bummed about the VOD delay.


#5

I’m glad it’s getting a wider release; I was worried it would stay limited. They’re showing it at non ideal places here, but I think I might schedule a trek to see it this weekend. Or I might wait until next weekend, if I think it reduces the chance I have to share the theater with a bunch of loud teens.


#6

Just got back from this. It was really good. I’m gonna listen to the podcast tomorrow and then follow up with more thoughts. I loved the feel of the movie; the setting definitely helped. Felt very real and had a sense of place that most movies simply ignore. In a weird way, something about the feel of the movie (the setting and overall identity) reminded me of Gone Home.


#7

Damn, I wish I’d said that. Very nice observation, nijimeijer. Both Gone Home and It Follows did a great job of wringing a sense of menace and dread from the everyday bits and pieces of a teenage girl’s life. It’s the uncertainty of developing sexuality as a horror story, isn’t it?

So glad you got to see this. Were there many people in the audience? I hope it does well.

-Tom


#8

I really want to see this, but I don’t think it is even opening at any ‘art house’ theaters within a 45 minute drive for another 2 weeks.

I saw the soundtrack was by Disasterpeace, a prolific chiptune artist who did the soundtrack for Fez. I wonder if this is the first time a chiptune artist has gotten any kind of mainstream cross over.


#9

I’m hesitant to discuss this openly, because there’s so much about how the film is presented (and the world it depicts) that are not necessarily spoilers in the classic sense (narrative), but are spoilers in that the atmosphere is integral to how one feels about the movie. So I’m going to spoiler tag most of this post.

Tom, to answer your question - there were only about seven other people in the theater. To be honest, I was surprised we got the film in one of our bigger theaters here. Typically, one or two of the smaller downtown theaters show smaller films like this (I mean, it is the home of Ebertfest). This one came early to one of the multiplexes here, so my wife and I headed out to the first showing; we’d already planned to watch this at home this weekend when it was going to be a VOD release. Keep in mind - there’s not really any marketing presence for this movie. I’m hopeful it does well.

Anyhow, I’m not a deep movie thinker. I typically have a pretty coarse understanding of why I liked a movie, and find it difficult to explain as well. Games are a lot easier for me. So these thoughts won’t be terribly deep, and they’re going to be pretty scattered.

Random thoughts from someone who is not good at analyzing film

[spoiler]One thing that immediately struck me was what a neat little world this movie presented us with (this is touched on in the podcast). The initial scene features a relatively late model car and a cell phone. The rest of the movie eschews almost any kind of placement in time like that (except for one more late model car - the main character). Other than the one girl’s weird clamshell e-reader, we don’t see cell phones (nor do they have any place in the movie, both in need as well as in actual presence), the cars are all older, the televisions and movies are old, the neighborhoods are by and large those classic 60s\70s suburbs. I love it. It’s completely this world that people will recognize, and people of like age to me (let’s just call it the range of mid-30s to mid-40s) will recognize.

The neighborhood they inhabit, the house they live in - those are my neighborhoods, and the houses I lived in or had friends live in when I was young. These were my friends. This is the same feeling Gone Home gave me; while you were playing a set character in that game, this was your house, you were looking for your sister, and you were looking with new eyes (suspicious, paranoid eyes) at your own surroundings in a weird way. Despite - actually, because of these idiosyncrasies, the world felt much more realized.

I love that at the end of the movie, after her sexual exploration (and disappointment, scares, etc.), she “settles” with Paul. I don’t know if that’s supposed to be what I read into it, but it felt right. In some ways, they’ve both settled. He, as the boy who pines for her, settles for her despite his resentment of her sexual past, and she settles for him because he seems to be the safer choice. If that’s indeed the intent of that finale, I can re-scan the rest of the movie and draw a lot more out of it. I could also be completely wrong, and that is equally (if not more) likely, heh.

Finally, I loved how slow the camera moved in this movie, and how limited a view it presented the viewer (again, something touched on in the podcast). With the slow movement, we were always straining to know if we saw what we saw. But the best part of it is that that also meant that occasionally the camera lingered on something that terrified. Once in a while, our view was too brief - other times, just long enough to scare the pants off of us. My wife’s fingernails were dug into my arm repeatedly.[/spoiler]

I will close by saying that the audience I saw this with was well behaved. I don’t know if that’s because these were people who obviously wanted to see this movie (I mean, you kind of had to follow it online to know it was coming this week), or because of the quality, but I don’t care.


#10

I saw this at a 5:20 PM showing on Friday and there was about 25 people in the theatre. I was kind of shocked that it’s playing at one of the big multiplex’s in Winnipeg since I assumed it would be going to one of the smaller theatres. The theatre didn’t even have a poster for the movie up anywhere so I think that 25 people isn’t too bad, especially considering the time that I saw it at.

This was a really enjoyable movie but I really don’t like horror movies. I can handle slasher movies because I don’t find them scary or suspenseful at all. This movie is almost loaded with tension and when they open the bedroom door and it comes inside behind the girl I am pretty sure I let out a hopefully quiet “errrrr”.


#11

I saw this last night. I waited to see this for about a year, and it didn’t disappoint. I was a huge fan of Myth of an American Sleepover, and this feels like a true follow-up, done by an auteur who is not afraid to switch genres to say something new about his chosen subject: in this case, youth and being a teenager.

One especially nice touch about the film that I really loved was how timeless it was. This isn’t a story about a specific decade of being a teenager, but about how the experience of being a teenager is timeless. I’m not sure if this is an observation other critics have made or not, but most of the teenagers represented a single decade of the last fifty years ago. Jay is an 80’s girl. Hugh, with his frosted tips, from the early 2000’s, circa 'N Sybc. Kelli, nursing a vibe from the grungier part of the late 90’s. Greg is “What’s Eating Gilbert Grabe?”, Johnny Depp early 90’s. Yara – with her futuristic, clam-shaped device of no obvious provenance – a teen of the near future. And Paul, a hipster of today, complete with Scott Pilgrim hat.

I’m curious what people make of the ending. Do you think that Paul and Jay, at the end, are together as a metaphor for how teenage sex leads to longer relationships, looking over their shoulders after the specter of the past?


#12

DrCrypt, this is a wonderful post. Your point about the timelessness, and how you break it down, describes much more than I observed when I saw the movie, and I love how much that makes me want to see the movie again. Actually, I was already excited to see the movie again, I’m just really happy about getting to look for and see what you’re saying about this aspect.

As for the ending, I’ve got a weird ‘love’ interpretation about this movie, and I don’t think most folks will go with me on it. I definitely see the sex thing, and I think that does dovetail into what you say about longer relationships, except I’m not sure I would go with the word relationships across the board. More how sex gets wrapped up in love and that can lead to obsession and something that follows or haunts you for, really, the rest of your life. And maybe even destroy you.

That they don’t look over their shoulders is the best part of that ending, I would say. Those moments in the movie when they don’t see it coming, like at the beach, were so effective. Look at that. A girl walking on a beach. Some kids in chairs. Another girl on a floaty thing. Ho-hum. Except every muscle in my body was agonizingly tense.

I still want someone to help me with my thought that the first visitation for the guys, was basically a representation of their physical selves.

Regardless, great post, Dr.

-xtien


#13

I liked that the e-reader was in a contraceptive pill case. Being well read keeps the sex away.


#14

Mono, I didn’t put together what her e-reader was shaped like, but you’re totally right. Great catch, and heaps another layer on top of this

Xtien, can you explain your thoughts on how “the first visitation for the guys, was basically a representation of their physical selves?” I can only think of one clear example of this, Greg. And you’re right: I never thought about that, but that’s super interesting, and I’m not sure I’ve figured out what it means. But does it extend beyond him? Do we ever see the incarnations of Hugh and Paul’s – for lack of a better word – demons?

spoilers

That touches on another thing I think is just so well done about the film. I think it’s easy to just interpret the film as Freudian. Greg, after all, is killed by his half-naked mother, while Jay is ultimately attacked in the pool by the bearded father we see in so many (oddly 70’s era) background photos. But I don’t think the monster is supposed to be Freudian, because it takes so many additional shapes besides parent figures: for example, Yara, or the old woman, or the blind boy, or the tall man.

It’s a sex demon, and so it makes sense to me that, whatever shape it takes, it must be sexually horrifying to whoever is viewing it, in some capacity. But what do people think that additional layer is?

Another question. It’s ambiguous, but I’m not the only one who thought Jay bought herself some time by gang banging the three bros in the boat, right? Because otherwise, the scene is pointless.


#15

Thank you, mono! I kept trying that joke/observation on the guys I saw the movie with…crickets.

You made my night.

-xtien


#16

As far as Hugh/Jeff is concerned, we never see his first encounter, so there’s nothing there for me to reference. The only other data point I have is that out-of-focus figure behind Jay and Paul at the end of the movie. And it looks like the dude in the deep background, out of focus, is wearing the same leather jacket and t-shirt ensemble as Paul is wearing in the foreground. It’s a very thin thread, but it got my mind spinning.

Another question. It’s ambiguous, but I’m not the only one who thought Jay bought herself some time by gang banging the three bros in the boat, right? Because otherwise, the scene is pointless.

That’s not just you. I think the implication there is clear, and that is why it takes so long for the entity to get back on track, so to speak. It has to wade through those boat dudes. I’m pretty sure Tom was with me on that, although I may have been with him on that. Or maybe Kelly was. I don’t remember what we said, but yeah, you’re not alone.

-xtien


#17

I don’t think the boat orgy is ambiguous at all. It’s subtle, but I don’t think it’s ambiguous.

-Tom

#18

I thought she was really clever with that thinking except that… how to not be vulgar here. The first dude that… penetrates her is now the target. The other two guys should be fine right? Because now the curse has been passed on to the first dude, he’s the sole target and when he dies the curse reverts back to her. Now she can pass the curse along again, but I didn’t think it was a case where everyone she has sex with will now be cursed, only those she has sex with when she is the active target of the curse.

I could be reading this wrong of course.


#19

I get what you’re thinking, marquac. But I think you can game it out to her…um…advantage. Again, not to be vulgar, but these types of situations don’t necessarily happen in a shortest-to-tallest order. It’s not like taking numbers at a deli. Things can be happening all at once. And being transferred back and forth. If you will.

-xtien


#20

To me, it didn’t seem like it took the entity any time to get back on track at all. A minute later, and it’s back, and standing on her roof.

Speaking of which, it’s a movie which can really be interpreted on multiple levels. I mean, I think it’s inarguable that the guy who has the best luck shaking off the demon is Hugh, and yet look at what lengths he took: he moved to a new town far away, slept with a girl, and then prepared her for what was going to come after her. Comparatively, Jay gangbangs three dudes on a boat, which buys her approximately a minute’s worth of time. Hugh’s performing what amounts to a twisted form of safe, educated sex, and it actually pays off pretty well for him.

And it looks like the dude in the deep background, out of focus, is wearing the same leather jacket and t-shirt ensemble as Paul is wearing in the foreground. It’s a very thin thread, but it got my mind spinning.

Interesting. I didn’t actually feel that the out-of-figure shot behind them at the end of the movie was unquestionably the entity, so I didn’t piece together it might be wearing a similar outfit. It could be the entity, but they’ll never know. The only thing they can do is try to put their sexual pasts behind them and move forward. But, you know, it follows.

One last thought. I think this movie has a lot of great horror pedigree in it. It obviously owes a lot to George Romero and John Carpenter. But I also think it owes a lot to 1957’s Curse of the Demon. Anyone else see the connection?