It Follows

This intensely haunting film is a righteous freak-out

Needless to say, I sit through a lot of crappy horror movies. Why do I do this? Because I’m ever hopeful of finding something like this little nugget.

Inspired by but not emulating John Carpenter’s 1978 Halloween, this unpretentious yet highly effective little entry by newcomer David Robert Mitchell eschews the common horror tropes and formulae while gleefully scaring your socks off. There’s little gore and few “boo” moments, but it’s original and intelligently devastating, steadily ratcheting up the tension and providing a sustained sense of nameless dread.

The concept is simple (all the better to limit tedious exposition). The title pronoun refers to that entity ambling inexorably after you with evil intent. Rules apply: it’s a shapeshifter and can appear as anyone, like your mom. It only pursues one person at a time, and others can’t see it. Most original, the only way to rid yourself of it is to “pass it on” through sex. Just like you got it. And if it kills the one you gave it to, it turns around and goes after you again.

This viscerally forceful, intensely haunting film is a righteous freak-out (as opposed to a gross-out). Innovatively filmed, punctuated by a pulsing synth score by Rich Vreeland, and some terrific sound design. Oh, and frontal nudity, which actually adds to the chills. Every background shot is a source of menace. This supernatural stalker touches your subconscious. It will stay with you … just won’t leave you alone. (100 min)