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Don't Follow


Hype or no hype, Sickle and I found It Follows to be lacking, though we certainly give it kudos for originality, effective homage material, and overall good directing and cinematography. But its moments of brilliance collided all-too-often with its inexplicable errors.

The movie sounded like an excellent opportunity for a brand new kind of horror. However, it turns out to be a very confusing film. It Follows, or as I am now calling it, How VD and Christopher Nolan Ruined an Amazing Creature Flick, mixes the fears of sexual connection with poor motifs. Now, do not get me wrong, the movie definitely had its scary moments, however, this was not the focus of the film. The parts that were actually horror were pretty damn terrifying, but even good jump scares and great visuals of the “creature” could not save it for me.

***SPOILERS***

The entire film revolves around a group of friends. One girl from within this tight-knit clique decides to share her youthful vigor with someone else. Then the rest of the movie seems to be about who she has to choose to have sex with to pass the curse around. This pulled the film very, very far away from horror and placed it directly into a coming of age story about a group of friends trying to find out who they really love in their life. Like Dawson's Creek, but with a Michael Myers-speed entity trying to kill all the sexually-active young adults. I know these movies are popular, but they leave a bad taste in my mouth. Call me jaded, but I did enough of that soul search back in Hell, and I do not need to waste hours of my time watching that now.

“But wait, the trailer showed some solid cinematography and they looked very well shot. This, combined with the solid story you just presented, should at least make a good non-horror drama film right?” Not quite. Yes, the movie has a relatable “love” story in it, but it is by no means well written or well shot. Frequently and often during the movie you will find yourself wondering why they just showed me a scene that had no bearing on the main plot of the movie. I found myself looking at scenes more critically than I typically ever do in any movie and the amount of random misdirection and Chekov’s Gun scenarios the film sets up are annoying at best. “Wait...Why was that important?” was the question I found myself asking through the entire movie.

This, to me, is reminiscent of a director who I dislike for his effects on modern film: Christopher Nolan. Nowadays, people think that a movie is not intelligent unless the audience is left feeling like they are dumb afterwards. Nolan has a tendency for this in his films, leaving convoluted or unexplained motives, or complex scenarios, in order to lure the audience into developing the story for themselves. “I do not understand what I just watched" equals "most brilliant film EVER." This isn't always a bad thing, but it can become tiresome, especially when it does not merely impact the viewer like a stinger after the credits, but more like feeling cheated out of the cinematic experience. Most people would be pissed if they were reading a book and random pages were torn out. This is what watching movies in a similar style to Nolan's feel like to me. This is what watching It Follows felt like.

While I respect great cinematography in film, I am a firmbeliever that that cannot make up the entire movie. This film has so many “artistic” shots in it that you start to question if there is any story at all and they just needed shots to make the film feature length. Also David Robert Mitchell had a very strange take on nudity. He loved showing naked people over the age of 30 doing anything from pissing themselves to grinding on their own children, but anytime there was actual sex happening on screen between two consenting young adults, the nudity magically vanished. Weird how that works.

On top of all the over-the-top-sexual-implication-mind-games the movie throws in your face, there was not much there about the creature at all. And with so many scenes being nebulous about their purpose you just feel like a child who has been told Santa Claus doesn't exist while waiting in line to see Santa Claus at the mall. To be more concise, you feel confused, betrayed, and a little bit saddened that the film didn't strike the nerve you were expecting.

It Follows, in the end, simply didn't pack the punch from certain perspectives, yet still found fresh ways to deliver in others. As we can best describe the quality of this film, we would be quick to recommend it for Netflix viewing, but would not be on the bandwagon of "you missed out if you didn't see it in theaters".

© 2020 Sickle and Efrit | Dalton Vanhooser & Kyle Hagan