Monday, April 27, 2015

david robert mitchell's "it follows"

 credit: Radius-TWC

David Robert Mitchell's commanding sophomore effort, "It Follows," is a superior sex thriller anchored by what should be a breakout performance by a singular young actress named Maika Monroe and by Mitchell's unstinting focus on his material.  The director and his star never flinch.

While this kind of movie is open to any interpretation, it was immediately apparent to me that "It Follows" is an unusually unforgiving cautionary tale about first-time sex, particularly when the participants are young and unformed.  Teenagers.  In their efforts to protect teens from sex, disapproving adults (who essentially want to selfishly keep sex all to themselves) create a web of guilt. Actually, they conveniently invented it.

And in "It Follows," this guilt is personified by visions of horrific stalkers intent on tormenting the foolish young fornicators. The assorted visions that haunt Monroe's character, named Jay, resemble post-coital zombies.

They are the naked undead (full-frontal naked).

And they all look as if they've just had sex and then died horribly.

Jay is advised by the guy who took her virginity that the only way she can rid herself of these guilt-produced demons is to have sex with another person, passing on the curse.  That's what he did in order to keep his sanity and pursue future intercourse. What follows makes sex look creepy, accompanied by a terrifically offbeat, discordant music score by Richard Vreeland/Disasterpeace which, at one point, includes some artistic static.

"It Follows" astutely indicts the hypocrisy of a confused, sex-addled America that continues on its unsuccessful, puritanical journey.

Note in Passing: The time in which “It Follows” is set is enticingly vague, never made clear.  It feels contemporary.  The kids look like budding millennials. However, none of their homes have flat-screen TVs.  There are several scenes of the kids watching television and all the sets are old-fashioned “box” sets.  Also none of the kids seem to have cell phones, although one girl plays around with a gizmo shaped like a seashell.  So is the film set in the present – or possibly as far back as the ‘70s?


Alex said...

Brilliant take on this film, Joe! You put into words what I couldn't say. Well done.

Marvin said...

Loved "your take" on IT FOLLOWS! Didn't get, when I saw the film, that the "stalkers" are the result of the teenagers'/kids' parents' puritanical attitudes over sex, which attitudes have instilled "guilt" in their children. Agree totally that Maika Monroe is brilliant in the lead role. In fact, I liked all the actors/actresses. Maika's sister was too charming for words; loved her "nerdy" friend (who is a boy), too.

Brian Lucas said...

What is it that they say about "great minds"? I had the same reaction to "It Follows."

Marvin said...

Joe, also, that is a very good question about the filom's time period. I remember the device shaped like a clam shell which one of the characters was always playing with. I'm glad you brought this up, as while I was watching the film, I felt that it had an "old time feel" to it. Clothes that kids wore were very "generic" and really didn't point specifically to a time period. I don't know what time period. I'm not certain of the 70s, however, because the clothes would probably have been more specific to that time period. Marvin