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It Follows (2014)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 7/14/2015
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/2/2015
Welcome to DVDSleuth.com, were well reviewed projects apparently come to die. Some may not believe this, but I don't want to hate the things that I watch. I've stated before that if I'm going to take the time to view and review something, I hope that it's greatest thing ever made. But, far too often, critical darlings likeThe Guest, The Walking Dead, and Snowpiercer turn out to be not only disappointing, but nowhere near as good as the hype would have one believe. I typically base this on the notion that many mainstream critics donít see enough genre films to give an educated opinion, and thus, they fawn over things unnecessarily. The latest movie to join this club is It Follows, which has a promising idea that goes nowhere.
Jay (Maika Monroe) is a fairly normal young woman. She goes to school (?) and enjoys spending time with her sister, Kelly (Lili Sepe), and her friends, Paul (Keir Gilchrist) and Yara (Olivia Luccardi). Jay goes on a date with Hugh (Jake Weary) and has a good time, so they go on a second date, where they go to a deserted area and have sex. Oddly, Hugh drugs Jay. When Jay awakens, she finds herself tied to a chair. Hugh explains that he has passed something on to her. Because of this "it" will now be coming to get her. "It" will follow her, "it" can take on any appearance, even that of a loved one, and if "it" touches her, "it" will kill her. Jay is then dumped at home, baffled and traumatized. The police look for Hugh, but he used a fake name. Jay tries to put the incident behind her, but she soon notices strange people following her, people that others can't see. Jay confides in her sister and friends, and they agree to help her. They begin a hunt for "Hugh" and try to protect Jay. But, how can you save someone from something that can't be seen and won't stop?
There's no doubt that Writer/Director David Robert Mitchell has come up with an interesting idea for It Follows, which is basically, "What if Ringu (or Ju-on perhaps) was a sexually transmitted disease?" Actually, the story takes a lot from Ringu. Instead of people watching a cursed videotape, they have sex and are then haunted by a murderous supernatural entity. Here, the danger doesn't emerge from your Sylvania, but rather, it strolls around trying to start shit.
It Follows received rave reviews from critics and did relatively well at the box-office for a small, independent horror movie. My question is (as usual), "What movie were they watching?" There's no doubt that the first act is intriguing. We are introduced to an idea which (while not wholly original) is bold. The movie has a slick look and Mitchell makes nice use of a gliding camera and some well-framed shots. The first appearance of "it" is (somewhat) well-done and we wonder what Jay is going to do.
But, as the film progresses, things get sillier and sillier and the plotholes begin to pile up, and we see that It Follows is one of those movies which doesn't hold up under close inspection. Again, the main premise is a good idea, but beyond that Mitchell has no idea what to do. Essentially, the entire movie is an extended chase scene, but one which doesn't make much sense. "It" is always walking and always coming, and yet, the speed at which it walks and the amount of distance it can cover in a given time changes when it's convenience. Jay and the group leave town and "it" finds them, yet it can't get to Jay in a very short period of time when she can't move. Sometime "it" can get into buildings, and sometimes it can't...and that doesn't explain why Jay decides to sleep outside. "It" can change its appearance, which is a nice excuse to have various actors play "it". But, the movie blows it's one chance to truly use this device by shooting "it" from too far away. (And I don't know why it was often naked.) Oh, and did I mention the fact that the movie goes out of its way to be ambiguous?
And then we have the finale. I can't being to explain how bonkers this is. This raises the question, "Have these people never seen an episode of Scooby-Doo?" or better yet, "The Invisible Monster" episode of Jonny Quest? I realize that fighting a creature that you can't see isn't the easiest thing in the world, but you should approach it with some common sense. Of course, I don't know why I was expecting anything from these characters. It Follows presents us with the most dull, non-descript group of youngsters which you've ever seen. The movie is clearly inspired by horror films of the 80s (more on that in a moment), but Mitchell has opted to eschew the common stereotypes of those films (the jock, the slut, the good girl, etc.) and has instead opted for four character who don't have a complete personality between them.
Obviously, I was disappointed by It Follows (and I was really looking forward to seeing it), but it does show some promise for Mitchell. Again, the movie is well-shot and he has a good eye. I like how he pays homage to 80s films, specifically Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street. The movie veers into art film territory with the whole water motif, which doesn't quite work, but is admirable. So, It Follows is a swing and a big miss for Mitchell, but given the buzz that the movie generated, I feel sure that he'll back and maybe his second movie will work.
It Follows shows up at the most inopportune times on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing only a mild hint of grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, although they are somewhat muted at times, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The depth on the image is excellent, as the actors are nicely separated from the backgrounds and the level of detail is notable. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.6 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The score, although annoying and often ill-timed, sounds very good, as it fills the speakers and truly creates a presence. The surround sound effects work well, most notably during the finale and the subwoofer joins in to emphasize the jump scares.
The It Follows Blu-ray Disc contains an odd assortment of extras. We begin with a "Critic's Commentary" hosted by Scott Weinberg (Nerdist/The Horror Show) and featuring Eric D. Snider (Moviebs), Britt Hayes (Screencrush), Samuel D. Zimmerman (Shock Till You Drop), Alison Nastasi (Flavorwire) and Eric Vespe (Ain't It Cool News). "A Conversation with Film Composer Disasterpeace" (5 minutes) has Richard Vreeland discussing how he got involved in the film and his approach to the project. The extras are rounded out by the THEATRICAL TRAILER and a POSTER GALLERY.
Review Copyright 2015 by Mike Long