Saturday, March 28, 2015

It Follows: Slasher Homage or Uneventful Art?

8 of 8 viewers "Liked" "It Follows" (2014, USA)
Here's what the citizens of the Overlook Theatre had to say:

Math Mage -  "The slasher is an STD and to add dramatic tension, is also a hot potato." - 3 Stars

Lord Battle - "Serine, surreal, suspenseful, the suburbs... It Follows is a movie with layers, you just need to look below the surface (maybe that's what the swimming pool theme was getting at). Fans of John Carpenters masterpiece, Halloween will feel right at home in this film. The removed-from-time 70's era that never was, still manages to echo Haddonfield despite the modern touches and being located in Detroit. Even the amazing modern soundtrack feels like a parallel universe John Carpenter wrote it." - 5 Stars

B4DK - "Original. Very intense at times and guaranteed to have your heart pounding. The musical score could not have been better. Cinematography was definitely on point. Creepy." - 4 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "Tension and tone are the name of the game here, but perhaps the most impressive thing about It Follows is the insular modern 70's era world that has been crafted. As this nameless and ultimately mysterious entity stalks the ever growing pool of infected, we too are hemmed in by this place of beer-bottle ridden suburban negligence. Children of the eighties will understand the groovy soundtrack, and some philistines simply won't get it. A fresh mixture of Under the Skin and the celebrated graphic novel Black Hole, It Follows is worth chasing." - 4 Stars

Book Wyrm - "I really enjoyed this film. I take things at face value so I didn't read into it like the other citizens but I genuinely liked the film. It was gorgeous, the soundtrack was awesome (if you like Fez check it out), and the story was great. I thought the concept was terrifying and it was so suspenseful. There were so many cool moments, I would totally watch it again. I like the aesthetic of it all!" - 5 Stars

Huntress - "There's a lot going on in this movie, even with the seemingly slow pace. By not to including some of the more "action" scenes, the film was able to focus on mood and atmosphere. The soundtrack seemed like it was almost too upbeat at points but it never felt out of place." - 5 Stars

KillDozer - "Going into a film hoping you haven't set the bar too high and then having it surpass your expectations is a rare and amazing thing. Visually striking, the cinematography alone was worth the price of admission. Extremely thought provoking while still delivering solid chills, this film is one to remember. I eagerly await the follow up from this writer director." - 5 Stars (Collection Worthy)

The Impostor - "Unique psychologival horror, It Follows uses creepiness as it's scare factor. It Follows also has the best soundtrack in a horror film I've heard in a long time. I really enjoyed the suspense the music brought to the film as well as the sceanery of the city that seemed empty or abandoned at times. I highly recommend this film, I enjoyed it from begging to end." - 5 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*

What is "It"? Why does it choose to look like certain people at certain times? Why are they watching only old films? If this is a period piece why is there a compact computer? Where are the adults?
There is no end to the awesome questions this film stirs up and if you have one you'd like to discus. please leave a comment. Math Mage has never handed me a review that covered an entire page so of course I'm giving him the spotlight. Also we kinda argued (loudly) in the Kabuki Theatre after it screened and I feel it be weak of me to post a retort right after I had read and posted what he thought (I don't want an unfair last word). Math Mage really broke this movie down well and was honest about how he felt but there are so many layers to this film that I'd love to talk about...
- Lord Battle

The slasher is a strange creature, they move very slowly when you can see them, yet it's always hard to run away. They catch up unexpectedly when they're off camera, no one else seems to see them, no one can really help you (if anyone does try, they'll die maybe buying you some time) and nothing you can do can hurt them. Slashers usually have little or no reason for hurting you, but are often associated with teens having sex (maybe they hate {pre-marital} sex). This film takes all of those tropes and fuses them into a logical arrangement, I'm having trouble finding words to describe "It" that don't limit it, the characters in the film are very vague about referring to it. The titular "It" is invisible to anyone it isn't targeting, moves at a brisk walk towards the target constantly*, is invulnerable** and has the touch of death. It also appears as a variety of people, almost always in pajamas, or otherwise ready for bed/sex and its target can change to someone else by having (unprotected?) sex with that person. So the slasher is an STD and to add dramatic tension, it's also a hot potato, because if the new target dies "It" starts hunting the previous one. (These spoilers aren't too bad since these properties are spelled out in the first 20 minutes, the bulk of the film is the protagonist trying to deal with "It" mostly by brooding amid beautiful scenery.) But this isn't a simple metaphor; the characters eventually come to terms with the fact the "It" will eventually kill them, so they just need to live with that; in the same way that people with terminal (sexually transmitted) diseases do. The supporting cast also deals with fatal disease metaphors; they can't help or even understand, and even if they share the disease they are limited to providing moral support. For a film about sex, the sex we see is not very sexy. The BGM cuts out during the sex scenes and no one seems to be enjoying it. Subtle acting and great direction help explore themes of absent parents (who paradoxically manage to overprotect their children forcing them to discover the real world on their own). For all the praise I've heaped on "It Follows" I found the film boring. The conclusion seemed everyone from the introduction of "It" and I couldn't maintain suspense. Unlike a regular slasher who can kill the supporting cast in an unpredictable order, "It" is dedicated to a specific target and will only initiate attacks against that target so I knew the protagonist would escape somehow despite her peril at the 40 minute mark.

* "It" may deviate from this path, avoid, or bypass barriers, but may never move away from the target.
** Not completely, since if "It" is truly invincible, "It" wouldn't bother defending itself.
Unfortunate parallels: "The Horribly Slow Murderer With an Extremely Inefficient Weapon" (2009, USA)

- Math Mage

 The Kabuki Theater had a runner up for the "It Follows" review movie poster.

Here's a better look. Amazing right?

Thanks to "The Film Stage" blog for sharing the poster above, it's amazing!
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

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