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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews It Follows

February 26th, 2015 by Conor ONeill Comments


It Follows (18)
Running time: 100 min
Directed by: David Robert Mitchell
Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist & Olivia Luccardi

Don’t even think an embarrassing trip to the GUM clinic can sort this out. Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, H to I to the V have nothing on IT. You must watch from start to finish. If you do, I swear, you’ll put half your next pay check into shares of Durex.

And so begins a young American girl’s absence from virginity to abstract horror. Yes, we’ve all seen this before… teen-horror low budget movies. But if you’re relaxed in any way, dropping your eye from the screen will be like trying to buy a copy of The Sun on Merseyside. Captivating from the start, rapturous at the end, sadly, with a few deck-chair-sitting moments in between, writer and director David Robert Mitchell enlivens teen-horror with high voltage CPR, wonderful writing, great cinematography and a drilling score to the horror genre.

Travelling from his low-budget debut 2010’s The Myth of the American Sleepover, Mitchell has once again triumphed with little cash, little known actors starting bright careers and a cleverly constructed plot too sheer for itself as we enter a world of the unknown. Never has been getting laid led to such demonic consequences.

Sexually transmitted evil, well that’s been going on since Adam and Eve, gnats, nits, cats and twits and everything that breeds in between. A Young woman runs from her house from something seen only by her, finding herself on a beach, she screams and sobs ‘I love you’ to her mum and dad. Friends surround her, half of them thinking she’s crazy, the rest thinking they’re going crazy themselves. Guns, car crashes, willing victims – the only way you can get rid of IT is by passing it on through intercourse – half believe, half reboot, turn off, turn off, turn off, quietly deciding if they can stick the madness going on around them.

And what of the actors? Well I’ve never heard any of them before, and unless you’re Mitchell or a proper follower of cinematic fashion, you won’t have either. Jay, the most troubled teenager since time began, is played with young abandoned confidence by Maika Monroe. A truly brilliant performance as she shimmers from sweetness to devil-chased-child of innocence to a femme fatal with men falling at her feet as she’s crumbling. Apart from the superfluous sister and other buddies, we’re introduced to the talents of the hunk Hugh (Jack Weary) and long-time admirer, the nerd Paul (Keir Gilchrist). Both play out-standing roles. Totally polar opposites, they do have a common love, the tortured Jay.

There’s no explanation of where IT comes from. We only know IT doesn’t feel, doesn’t think, IT just follows. Better the devil you know than an inexplicable thing lying under thy bed, arm out stretched waiting for a tender leg to place itself on the floor. IT crawls on the ASBO daring crime of voyeuristic, but watching someone crack makes for a good movie. We’ve all been there: no-one understands our fears or phobias, our weaknesses.

Described in the blurb as ‘electronic, shuddering, violent and daring’ the film’s score is as close to perfect as can be. Mitchell has certainly employed the use of musician Disasterpeace with great effect. Whether it’s a long shot or one of the film’s many manic coffee-cup-crushing episodes, the soundtrack is spot on, except that it doesn’t bring the word ‘electronic’ into your head. It’s just a ubiquitous driving yet slightly under-played character unseen, and the movie would seem devoid without it.

I know what I’m going to rate this film, knew it from 15 minutes in, but there are failings. At one hour 44 minutes it really takes too long to take us to climax. Lemming-like we’re brought to the precipice but aren’t allowed to jump cliff; milk threatening to boil but shimmering at simmer. But enough of the similes, like. All you gotta do is get your bum on a seat and enjoy a really good film. IT will get you. I know it’s going to follow me for a long time.

4 out of 5 Nerds


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Conor O'Neill is at times a playwright and a qualified journalist. He has worked for the Belfast Telegraph, Portadown Times and South Belfast Advertiser. He also contributes to various online e-zines, specialising in theatre, gig reviews and other cultural events. If you were to ask him what he does, he will say 'I'm functioning'... that's a lie. Best suited to pressure and deadlines, O'Neill thrives on the moment, the passion and the thrill of now, he's only happy when he's watching or reviewing a play.

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