Earlier 2015 we got yet another independent horror movie that sticks out and gives people hope that the genre could be improving and maybe even compare to where it was back in the 60's 70's and 80's. People are calling it the 21st century's answer to John Carpenters' 'Halloween' so the question is; does it deserve all this praise or is it yet another typical poor modern day horror movie that will be forgotten?

'It Follows' got me very intrigued when the trailer was first released back in December 2014, it really looked like something that could continue steering the genre in the right direction like what 'The Babadook' and 'The Conjuring' did earlier. Luckily, it did just that. This is one of the best horror movies of the 21st century and deserves all the praise it is getting - however there are still problems in the script that is holding it back from knocking it out of the park completely. If it just had a final home run to really hit it home this would have been something truly special. What is truly special though is the fantastic soundtrack that is definitely inspired by John Carpenter's score for 'Halloween'. It is not often I look up soundtracks for horror movies right after I saw it but this is one of the few times in the past couple of years that I just had to hear the main theme again (another was 'The Conjuring' from 2013).

Right from the start I could already tell this was not going to be your usual modern horror flick with the moody and atmospheric long take and that is one of the main high points of the film, the directing and the cinematography. This movie looks fantastic, there is this gritty feel to every shot which is noticeably missing in the big Hollywood horror movies today who just end up looking incredibly fake and too "perfect". All the scenes take place on actual locations (obviously since this is a very low budget and independent film) and none of the scares are incredibly outlandish and goofy with bad CGI, they actually take their time to legitimately set up each scare, make sure the audience are on board with it and then finally deliver whatever it is they have up their sleeve. The shots are really well composited, the director was obviously very passionate about the project and had an artistic vision for the way the film looked and felt. A lot of focus seems to have been targeted towards making this world feel real because there are a lot of subtle and small things happening in the background that does not do anything for the story - but they work towards making this feel like a lived in world.

The screenplay is what lets the film down a bit from truly becoming a movie I loved. It does stumble a bit towards the end as the logic falls apart a bit and the abstract nature starts to crumble and you begin wondering if there are maybe a bit too many rules that do not add up. It is quite easy for me to be pissed off about the film even though I really liked it, because it could easily have been a masterpiece and it is just so frustrating that it fell short of being deserving that amount of praise. This is not to say the screenplay is downright terrible - it is very well written despite of the annoying flaws. The structure is really solid, several scenes are very creative in how they reveal information and move the plot forward in an organic way. One of the standouts in the writing though is the main characters because they certainly feel like real people (apart from the ending). There are small things they do that they camera focuses on that really has nothing to do with what is happening that just works as a way to humanize them in ways a lot of filmmakers do not even think about these days.

Overall, 'It Follows' is a very annoying film because of how easily it could have been one of the greatest horror movies - possibly of all-time, instead it remains as merely just a great horror movie (which of course is still quite a feat). The direction is sleek, perfectly showcasing the gritty nature that has been missing from recent big studio horror films. The performances are quite good all around - although the leading actress (Maika Monroe) stands probably head and shoulders above everyone else. Currently this is the best horror movie of the year and I am fairly sure it will hold on to that title for the rest of 2015 as well.


- Lucas


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