Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Review and Ending Explanation: It Follows (2014)

Copyright: RADiUS-TWC
The beauty of this film is that it really makes you watch it. Unlike regular horrors, or even other films, in its case, watching is not just looking at what the characters are doing, but also what is happening around them. While many scare-based movies go for this, the director of It Follows, David Robert Mitchell took this notion one step further by making the audience into a type of lookout system for the main characters.

In the film, a young woman called Jay has sex with her new boyfriend. But, immediately after, she learns from him that he actually transmitted a curse (sort of) to her, the same one he got from someone else. It involves an invisible creature that walks towards its victim – it does not run, just walks, but can take the appearance of any other human being. If it reaches her, she is dead. After that, he flees and Jay is left with the curse and must find a way to get rid of it or do something about it.

Mitchell uses a weird soundtrack, similar to the film Cold in July, which is also strangely filled with 80’s sounds and synth-pop melodies in a terrifying way. In the film, Jay and other characters are often surrounded by people and some of them do walk towards them. Whenever this happens, the audience has to wonder if they really are stalked by the monster or is the same figure just an ordinary person. This stroke of genius is what makes If Follows a movie full of suspense and terror that comes from expecting something grisly to happen.

Of course, Mitchell is a young filmmaker and the movie is not perfect. Mainly, it rushes to demystify its creature to a certain point, its pacing is uneven and some elements are completely off as if they were taken from some other film of his (the boat scene, for example). But, its strongest suits make it a film that cannot be compared to many others currently out there, especially when it comes to those which try to advance the horror genre.

It Follows is a film that took horror into new and interesting waters of suspense and audience immersion, along with its symbolic message of STD’s. Because of this, it is a small genre masterpiece.

It Follows Ending Explained

Spoiler Alert

This is how I understood the ending of the film (ignoring the notion of sexually transmitted diseases and watching the film just as a horror) – Jay gives the curse Paul after they have sex and Paul is later seen driving by some prostitutes. In the last scene, the figure that is seen following Jay and Paul. This figure is not the monster – it is just a regular person (most likely). Here’s why:

The idea is that Paul had sex with someone who has intercourses many times a day. This means that the same prostitute will spread the curse without even knowing she has it. If the next victim (the prostitute’s customer) is then killed, the curse goes back to her. But then, she once more has sex in less than 24 hours (most likely), giving it to someone else, whom the monster then needs to start following.

This way, Paul brought the curse to a “sex nexus” where it can linger on without anyone noticing that murders are taking place, especially because many of the prostitute’s victims are not locals, but only passing through and the curse is not activated the same second it is passed on. Because of that, the ending explanation can only be that the person behind Jay and Paul in the last scene has been just a passerby.

Because of Paul’s intercourse with the prostitute, both he and Jay are safe for the time being.