It Follows (David Robert Mitchell, 2015)

What's it about? After teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) has sex with her new boyfriend for the first time, he reveals he has passed on some sort of curse to her, which means she will be followed by a malevolent entity intent on killing her. It can only approach at walking pace, so she can easily outrun it, but it will never, ever stop coming for her, unless she in turn passes on the curse.

Is it any good? Well, ‘It’ is obviously not to be messed with, but the film itself is quite good. The central premise is clever in two ways. One, it challenges genre conventions in that having sex is really the only way to try and escape harm (Hurrah!), raising interesting ethical issues and sexual interpretations about what ‘It’ represents. And, two, the viewer will soon find themselves peering anxiously at the edges of the frame to spot the slow, but inexorable, approach of ‘It’ in a variety of guises, with the empty spaces of the widescreen presentation used to good effect in ramping up the tension. With its surburban setting, a seemingly indestructible boogeyman and an underlying synth score, Halloween is the obvious horror touchstone, but the difference is that this has a distinct indie, slacker vibe in that the people in peril are listless, disaffected youths. As such, it becomes a more leisurely, creepy affair, rather than being outright scary, but it's a worthwhile watch if you prefer more thought-provoking horror to standard frights.

Anything else I should know? Follow-up viewing (follow-up - geddit?) should include the early body-horror films of David Cronenberg and George A. Romero's zombie films, which director Mitchell drew inspiration from, whilst the ghost stories of MR James, such as Whistle and I’ll Come to You (memorably filmed with Michael Hordern) and Casting the Runes (filmed as Night of the Demon) are also useful reference points. On a personal note, for some reason it reminded me of that old quote: “Life is a disease: sexually transmitted and invariably fatal”. And yet we still insist on passing it on.

What does the Fonz think? Follow it on Twitter @itfollowsfilm

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