Sunday, April 12, 2015

It Follows

Written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, It Follows is the story of a young woman who encounters a supernatural being following a sexual encounter with another man. The film plays into the idea of sex being something dangerous as that concept is being reinvented for a new world of horror. Starring Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi, and Lili Sepe. It Follows is a chilling yet gripping film from David Robert Mitchell.

What happens when a young woman is passed on a mysterious sexually transmitted disease as she is stalked around dead people? That is pretty much the premise of the film which plays into not just some of the dangers of promiscuous sex. It’s also a film where sex is the basis for everything that is wrong yet writer/director David Robert Mitchell doesn’t go for anything heavy-handed about the wrongs of promiscuous sex. Instead, he takes on this idea and puts into a setting where a young woman is being stalked by the dead as they’re often seen following her where some of them are in the nude or just naked as they want to fuck that person to death. The film begins with a young woman running around in her underwear and heels in the morning as she is being chased as it plays to exactly the dangers of what is ahead.

Mitchell’s direction is definitely mesmerizing for the way he plays into a world where things seem normal in some aspects but one that is uneasy as it plays into a sense of innocence loss. It begins with this sequence of this young woman who is running around her neighborhood in her underwear and heels as it’s shot in one entire take that last for minutes. Mitchell’s approach to the direction is to keep things simple and to the point as he shoots on location in Detroit and nearby areas to play into a world where things that were simple aren’t what they seem to be. Mitchell’s compositions are very entrancing in his approach to close-ups and medium shots as well as some unique movements with the camera to play into the action.

Mitchell’s approach to suspense and horror not only play to traditional schematics but also in knowing when not go for the big scares as well as build it up for the big moments. Some of these moments not only produce some major scares but also in the idea that it doesn’t play by some of the rules of conventional horror. Mitchell also knows that the element of shock has to be big where it’s not going for the usual amount of gore or anything but in simpler ideas as it is very effective in its approach to horror. Most notably in the film’s climax where the characters confront the beings that is going after this young woman. Overall, Mitchell creates a very smart and terrifying film about a woman haunted by mysterious beings after gaining a strange sexually-transmitted disease.

Cinematographer Mike Gioulakis does brilliant work with the film‘s cinematography to play into the rich look of the locations in the day and night as well as some unique interior lighting to give the film a very dream-like look. Editor Julio C. Perez IV does fantastic work with the editing as it is quite straightforward while going for some offbeat rhythms to play into the suspense without the need to do any kind of conventional fast-cutting. Production designer Michael Perry and art director Joey Ostrander do excellent work with the look of the homes of the characters as well as the ruined homes they would stay in while they hide from the mysterious beings. Costume designer Kimberly Leitz-McCauley does nice work with the clothes as it‘s mostly casual with the exception of the pink dress and underwear that the Jay character wears.

Special effects makeup artist Tom Luhtala does amazing work with the look of the dead who stalk the characters in the film as they look like horny zombies who are out to kill. Visual effects supervisor Greg Strasz does terrific work with some of the visual effects which play into the horror as well as the sense of what these characters are encountering. Sound editor Christian Dwiggins does superb work with the sound to play into the suspense while using sparse sound textures to play up the horror without the need for something big. The film’s music by Rich Vreeland, in his Disasterpiece alias, is incredible as it’s eerie electronic score play into the sense of terror and suspense as it’s one of the film’s major highlights.

The casting by Mark Bennett and Carrie Ray is marvelous as it features notable small roles from Bailey Spry as the young woman being chased in the film’s opening sequence, Debbie Williams as Jay and Kelly’s mother, and as the strange dead, there’s Alexyss Spradlin, Mike Lanier, Ingrid Mortimer, and Don Hails as these scary beings. Jake Weary is terrific as Jay’s date Hugh who was the carrier of this mysterious disease as he later tells her and her friends exactly what they’re dealing with. Daniel Zovatto is excellent as Jay’s neighbor Greg whom she used to go out with as he helps her and her friends in dealing with this mysterious entity.

Olivia Luccardi is superb as the nerdy Yara who is a friend of Jay’s sister Kelly as she helps out with the chaos of what is happening. Lili Sepe is fantastic as Jay’s younger sister Kelly who is trying to comprehend the situation regarding her sister. Keir Gilchrist is brilliant as Jay’s longtime childhood friend Paul who is also trying to deal with the situation as well as his own feelings for Jay. Finally, there’s Maika Monroe in a remarkable performance as Jay as this young college student whose innocent night with a young man goes wrong as she copes with her situation and the fear that is surrounding her as she tries to survive and find someone to pass this disease to.

It Follows is a phenomenal film from David Robert Mitchell that features a break-out performance from Maika Monroe. The film isn’t just one of the smartest horror films in recent years but a film that manages to follow many of its schematics and find new ways to use them without the need of gore or multiple big scares that had hurt the genre. In the end, It Follows is a spectacular film from David Robert Mitchell.

© thevoid99 2015


Anonymous said...

UGH! I need to see this one so badly!

thevoid99 said...

See it... NOW!!!!!

Ruth said...

I don't normally care for horror but I'm very intrigued by this one so I just might rent it. It's an interesting statement about promiscuous sex, it'll probably put off some people after watching it, ahah. Hopefully it's not too gory as I can handle suspense, but not blood & gore.

thevoid99 said...

@ruth-It's not very gory at all. It's better than that and I would totally see this in the theaters right now. It's gaining a lot of momentum.

Alex Withrow said...

LOVED this movie, so I'm really digging this review. This is so silly, but I saw this movie the day it opened in LA, and the entire cast/crew were there. As I was walking out, I stopped to talk to DP Mike Gioulakis. We had a really nice conversation and before I left I said, "In a year or so, I'm going to get in touch with you about shooting my next movie. So don't forget me." And he was like, "Hell yeah man!"

I NEVER do shit like that but I couldn't resist. This movie looked amazing.

thevoid99 said...

@Alex-I hope you get him to work with you. The photography in that film is amazing. It was better than I thought it would be.