Modern horror movies have often relied on out-there concepts as a means of garnering interest and getting people into theater seats. Whether it’s vaginas with teeth, or people getting their mouths sewn to butts, or what have you, a new horror sub-genre that’s all about being as twisted and weird as possible seems to now exist. These days, a killer stalking some kids out in the woods almost feels passé. So, seeing as David Robert Mitchell’s (The Myth of the American Sleepover) new film, It Follows, is about a young girl who contracts a Sexually Transmitted Demon, it would make sense to assume that it’s the latest entry in this new category of contemporary films that are primarily concerned with being salacious. You’d be wrong to assume as much though, because, despite the outlandish setup, It Follows is actually one of the best throwbacks to the golden age of slow-burn, tension-building horror that we’ve seen in a while.
A big reason for that is how effective the big scary thing we’re introduced to is at making you bite your nails. After our heroine, a nineteen-year-old girl named Jay (Maika Monroe), awakens from a sexual encounter with a new boyfriend unexpectedly tied to a chair, he explains that he’s passed to her an affliction in which a deadly specter will follow her everywhere she goes. It moves slowly and deliberately, but it never stops coming, it can appear as anyone (it usually chooses to appear as someone methy-looking), and if it ever touches her it will cause her a grizzly death. The only way she can get rid of this creeping terror is to sleep with someone else and to pass it on to them, but if it manages to kill the person she passes it to before they also pass it along, then it doubles back and starts working the other way down the line again. Death, it seems, can only be put off, never overcome.