Capsule Review Film Review

TIFF Capsule Review: It Follows

September 8, 2014Ben Mk


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Boogey nights...

The boogeyman is real, and he's one Hell of a sexually transmitted disease. That may sound like a wacky premise plucked straight from the storyline of a forthcoming Scary Movie sequel, but in It Follows, writer/director David Robert Mitchell treats the off-kilter concept with the utmost seriousness. Mitchell's follow-up to his feature-length debut, The Myth of the American Sleepover, follows Jay (Maika Monroe), a teenage suburbanite who, after sleeping with the wrong guy, finds herself haunted by the "It" of the film's title — a malicious supernatural entity that won't rest until she's dead.

   

As Jay quickly learns, there's one rule that's of paramount importance to her survival in this deadly game of cat and mouse she's unwittingly entered into: she must have sex with someone to pass along the curse, otherwise the entity will never stop hounding her. However, ridding herself of it altogether isn't quite as simple as that, for if that other person dies, it will circle back to her.

As Jay, her sister, Kelly (Lili Sepe), and their friends (Keir Gilchrist, Bailey Spry and Daniel Zovatto) attempt to outrun and outfox her unrelenting, paranormal stalker — which can assume any form — they're accompanied by a grinding synth score (by chiptune composer Rich Vreeland, aka Disasterpeace), intended to evoke the early films of John Carpenter. Even so, the film is best described as "Carpenter-lite", for though it's heavy on atmosphere, the promise of its intense and disturbing opening sequence is squandered on later scenes that stretch the narrative to the point of monotony. Still, Monroe is more than just your average scream queen, and the audience's ability to connect with the terror unfolding on-screen owes almost entirely to her performance.  Ben Mk





It Follows receives its North American premiere as part of TIFF 2014's Midnight Madness programme and is currently scheduled for a 2015 release by Mongrel Media. Photo credit: Mongrel Media.




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