“It Follows”

So, “It Follows”. It’s great, but I wouldn’t say it’s excellent. Creepy concept, neat execution, decent characterization, but I’m not as hot on it as everyone else seems to be. Though that’s just me being a nitpicky asshole. The biggest issue is how the movie itself shows the limits of technical skill. Yes, it’s great that David Robert Mitchell knows the value of delicate editing, pacing and the works, but at the end of the day one has to outright say SOMETHING. And I’m not sure if “It Follows” does. Don’t get me wrong, it has a great existential hook, and for a horror movie it has a pretty honest look at teenage angst, love, sex and even death (probably not a surprise, given that David Robert Mitchell directed, “The Myth of the American Sleepover”). But it feels like a movie that one has to squeeze substance out of, as opposed to just having it gush all over you like great movies do. It doesn’t help that even at it’s minimalist best, it still has to propel things forward with a bit of exposition.

Then again, my nitpicks with “It Follows” could also be applied to the likes of “Paranormal Activity 3”, “[REC]” and perhaps even the movies of John Carpenter. Now, put the pitchforks down, I’m not calling his movies “overrated”. John Carpenter at his best is better than almost everything else when it comes to movies. His (and Debra Hill’s) understanding of narrative economy, pacing and the like are the kind of shit the Sundance Film Festival crowd wishes it could have when it grows up. But when a moviemaker watches their stuff and tries to apply it…can one truly match the textured economy, the daredevil dives towards an intellectual and moral abyss, and the obvious cinephillia that leaks from every frame? In other words, “It Follows” is deft and terrifying, but it feels like a copy of a copy, so much so that when its flaws show (and they DO show, at least to my nitpicky self) they can’t help but detract.

Not to mention that as scary as it is, it still has the problem of being a bit…vanilla. It still has the “sex equals death” theme other horror movies carry on their shoulders like a priest with a case of sour grapes (to be fair, the monster is an equal opportunity killer in that respect). Plus, it’s kind of, well, white. I’m not asking the movie to pull a Dreamwork’s “Home” and have the main scream queen be a black woman (and besides, Maika Monroe does a hell of a good job), but considering how inventive the movie’s concept is…yeah, it wouldn’t have killed to have the writer/director go just a little further than the stuff they know (the life of the middle-class white teenager). Though, given the absolute drought of good stuff lately (too soon, California?) sometimes that is enough.

So, yeah, “It Follows”. I’m officially on the love train for this movie, despite my critiques, so check it out. It’s good.

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