Scary is a word that shouldn’t be used to describe the horror film “It Follows.” Laughable is a much better word.
“It Follows” does not have the gore that is associated with modern horror films like “The Lazarus Effect” or the “Saw” franchise. There's nothing wrong with a horror film without gore. It would have worked with this movie's attempts to produce a feeling of fear and dread of what is about to come to draw the audience in — if those attempts had succeeded.
Alfred Hitchcock was one of the masters of this technique, which is demonstrated in “Rear Window” and “Psycho.” Hitchcock would build up the suspense by adding new layers of the story creating anticipation and excitement for the audience. He would do this until the story reached a boiling point and then revealed a plot twist to the audience.
“It Follows” doesn't add any layers, it just drags on and on until it's finally over, to the delight of the audience. There's no impending doom, just a sense of “when is this going to wrap up?”
The film centers its story on young college student Jay Height (Maika Monroe). She has just started dating a new guy named Hugh (Jake Weary). After things get intimate between the two, Hugh reveals that he has passed Height an evil presence. Stop right there.
The premise of this movie sounds like the worst sexually transmitted disease ever.
Continuing on, this “presence” will manifest itself into friends or family members and follows the person it has been given to. The presence tracks the person by walking slowly and the only way people rid themselves of this evil is to “pass it on” to somebody else before it kills you.
Horror films are about receiving a good scare and having the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The audience I watched this movie with didn't scream, there weren’t gasps or expressions of surprise. There were plenty of snickers though, and I don't mean movie candy.
Some of the best horror films like the 1968 classic “Night of the Living Dead” have a gritty, raw feeling to them, which really works in some cases. That, in turn, provides the film with a long life and develops decades of fans long after its release.
The final product of “It Follows” felt amateure and the characters felt distant and bored on screen. There was nothing for the audience to invest in and take home with them. The distant feeling shown by the actors dragged down the overall pace of the film.
“It Follows” did have the potential to clutch that “Nightmare on Elm Street” horror movie status with a similarities between the two, but instead “It Follows” is as scary as your mom in a Halloween mask — maybe less scarier.
“It Follows” is rated R for disturbing violence and sexual content, including graphic nudity and language. The film runs 100 minutes.