After she sleeps with her date, who then promptly disappears, college student Jay (Monroe) gets scared. The date (a very creepy Jake Weary) has told her that, because they had sex, a supernatural entity that takes the physical form of an ordinary man, woman or child, will start to follow her and eventually kill her.
The only, provisional, escape is to pass the ‘curse’ on by sleeping with someone else.
Jay’s sister Kelly (Sepe) and her besties Paul (Gilchrist) and Yara (Luccardi) rally round to support her, but soon there is horrific proof that the curse is real. The likeably goofy foursome attempt to track down Jay’s date and find a final escape clause for Jay.
It Follows received lots of attention when it hit the big screen in the UK in 2015, and it remains a major work of horror cinema. What’s noticeable watching it after an 8-year break, including 3 years of pandemic fear which have helped make the fear of contagion and mental health elements stand out, is less the story and more how the film creates its wonderful effects. This isn’t to knock the story: a glum, despondent Final Destination sounds great to me!
But film style is everything here. Large chunks of the film are taken up with slow, long, gliding shots – reminiscent of the iconic establishing shots in John Carpenter’s Halloween. And the soundtrack by Disasterpeace captures a similar mood to a washed out Carpenter synth-based score.
The effect is so sustained here: a doomy, gloomy look and feel that acts as the backdrop to the source of acute tension, which is when figures cut across the shot towards a camera that suggests the POV of the cursed characters. Every passer by, every figure in the shot, could be the It that is following Jay. The hi-res imagery and immaculate framing, courtesy of Mike Gioulakis, gives the goings on a frozen, hyperreal quality, despite their nightmare nature. A quality that is more David Lynch than John Carpenter.
It Follows was largely filmed in Detroit, and the uses urban dereliction to great effect, while leaving the poverty of real people to one side. Michael Perry and Joey Ostrander’s production and art design picks up on this: the cars and places the goofy gang hang out in are full of an eclectic mix of objects from the 1950s onwards, testament to the fading history of industrial Detroit and the spoiled suburban dream of greater America.
Critical responses to writer-director David Robert Mitchell’s next project Under the Silver Lake (2016) derailed his career slightly, but I for one would watch anything he wrote and directed.
Second Sight Films 4K master produced in conjunction with the original post production facility
Approved by director David Robert Mitchell
UHD presented in Dolby Vision HDR
New Dolby Atmos audio track produced by Second Sight Films
New audio commentary by Joshua Grimm
Audio commentary by Danny Leigh and Mark Jancovich
Chasing Ghosts: a new interview with actor Keir Gilchrist
Following: a new interview with actor Olivia Luccardi
It’s in the House: an interview with Producer David Kaplan
Composing a Masterpiece: an interview with composer Rich Vreeland
A Girl’s World: an interview with production designer Michael Perry
It Follows – The Architecture of Loneliness: a video essay by Joseph Wallace
Limited Edition Contents
150 page book with new essays by Anne Billson, Martyn Conterio, Kat Ellinger, Eugenio Ercolani, Matt Glasby, Kat Hughes, Jennie Kermode and Katie Rife
Six collectors’ art cards
These dual format editions include both UHD and Blu-ray with main feature and bonus features on both discs.
It Follows is out on 4K UHD and Blu-ray on 11 September from Second Sight Films