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Review It Follows (2014): When hype takes over genuine storytelling!

genre: horror, mystery

All I could hear and read is praise and how this resurrected horror, assuming of course if you are one of the poor souls who think it's dead in the first place. Firstly horror is not dead. It is very well alive and kicking. However, the perception of what good horror has changed drastically and most of its audience has changed. Not going into if that is good or bad because that would make me go rant for hours and hours and "ain't nobody got time for that". It Follows in my opinion though is not good horror.

The problem with It Follows is that it is based on a gimmick and a certain set of rules. Which is fine and dandy if the film would not break these rules whenever it suited them. You can say all what you want about Nightmare on Elm Street, Candyman or even Scream. But those films stuck to the rules they set up themselves. It Follows discards them quite quickly, making it hard to build up real tension and terror. The terror comes from knowing that it is coming. How it is coming and that you can't do anything about it. But if you change that up just for the sake of surprise, you actually kill the terror and the dread that would have been created from that. The result is that you feel like anything can happen, and not in a good way. Although that could have been avoided if any of the characters on the screen would actively do everything in their power to go against the odds. Sure, main character Jai Height played by Maika Monroe (who looks a lot like Brittany Murphy if you ask me) is not sitting idly by but does she really try everything to shake her curse of? I don't think so. It's her friends who kinda force her to do so.

The gimmick of It Follows is interesting, I give you that. Apparently there is this curse that is passed on when you have sex with someone. However, if the person who the curse is passed on dies by Its hands, the curse automatically will go back to the person who passed it on. In itself a quite scary notion, although none of it is fully explored or investigated. What happens if the person who passes on the curse dies before It gets to kill this person? Will the curse go back to the person before, or will it end? Where does this curse come from? Is this something religious? Is the director telling us it is dangerous to have casual sex? At what exact moment would the sex count for it to be considered death worthy? I mean, would oral sex be enough? Or are we talking full penetration? How far would the curse go back? And why is it only targeting people who are having sex?  (Director David Robert Mitchell denies this BTW, but some Christian reviewers already have praised this film for its message. So whether it is intentional or not it has become an anti-casual sex film and that is despicable if you ask me.)

 I think this film would have been far more interesting had it really explored all the options of how to deal with IT and not let us wonder all the time of why and what is happening. I get it that you have to be mysterious as possible, and that sometimes it could be fun figuring out things for yourself. However, for that you need to be stimulated and be given some clues you could work on. But no, we are left in the dark about pretty much everything until it ends. It Follows ends without giving any satisfactory conclusion. And am I supposed to applaud for this? Really? Why? I was promised to be frightened or at least thrilled, and what I got instead was just so underwhelming it simply is not funny any more. I liked the Eighties' atmosphere very much. Always a big plus in my book. The soundtrack also was good and obviously one mimicking the tunes of horror master John Carpenter. But that is not enough to appease my horror needs. I need something that grabs me and preferably never lets up. And from what I have heard and read, It Follows would do just that. But it didn't. In fact, most of what is described as scary or frightening isn't really because it is left to your own imagination. There were several scenes where you were thinking that we were seeing IT in pursuit. But just when what you perceived as IT coming close, the scene ends. Basically that is what It Follows does constantly. Because let's face it, David Robert Mitchell has not bothered to take any of the premise further. He kept repeating things until he thought it was enough. He obviously has not given that much thought about his premise, since he is very much counting on the gimmick. 

It Follows could have won me over if it only tried harder. Instead, you get something truly generic and infuriating, since people who have watched this keep claiming how this is smart and original. Or how it has revived a dying or already dead genre. Anyone claiming that doesn't know what he is talking about. Horror is and always be relevant and alive. It's the audience that needs to be revived. I am sorry to say but I have little faith in some people and their ideas concerning horror. I mean these are probably the same people defending Paranormal Activity. Read my review on that one but if you want the short version: IT WAS CRAP!

If Follows is all hype and doesn't deliver on its own. Unfortunately because of its success a sequel will be made, and I will have to suffer again with reviews and comments of idiots saying how it is the greatest horror movie ever without ever explaining why that is. AVOID! 

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