“It Follows” focuses on 19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe) who, after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone or something is following her. Faced with this burden, Jay and her friends must find a way to escape the horrors that are only ever a few steps behind.
The curse, which takes the shape of a human, only ever walks; you can outrun it, but it will still keep coming for you (a concept that came from the director’s recurring nightmare as a child). This minimalistic approach, which could easily act as a campaign for sexually transmitted diseases, works in the film’s favour thanks to the outstanding cinematography from Michael Gioulakis.
Whereas horror films typically take place in confined, claustrophobic spaces, It Follows is predominantly set in wide, open areas. Through a combination of widescreen framing and expertly positioned camera angles, viewers find themselves scanning the background for any potential threats that may be lurking in this horror version of cat-and-mouse.
Adding to the mysterious nature of the film is the theme of isolation. It Follows takes place within a deliberately vague location during an unspecified time period (its vintage style suggests the 70s/80s, although it could quite easily be set in the present day). There is also a distinct lack of prominent adult characters, leaving the group of teenagers to fend for themselves.
In terms of scares, It Follows contains its fair share, all of which are very intelligently handled. Director David Robert Mitchell ensures cinemagoers are on edge through a combination of jumpy moments and red herrings, all of which are heightened through the dreary, unnerving synth soundtrack (composed by Disasterpeace). It’s a refreshing change from the over reliance on jump scares and deafening sounds that modern horror films rely on.