For Reel

It Follows (2014)
April 2, 2015, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: David Robert Mitchell
4.5 Stars
It FollowsThe second encounter that Jay (Maika Monroe) has with It (her first being her wheelchair-bound introduction to the acquired condition) is a departure from many horror conventions in that it occurs in broad daylight and in public. While sitting in class, she notices an old woman walking towards her from across the campus. With this scene, director David Robert Mitchell conditions the audience for the way that he wants them to watch the film. Often, the threat occurs in the background of a shot and it goes unacknowledged for a few brief moments before both the characters and the filmmaking (that is, the use of editing and/or music to elevate the tension) acknowledge the presence. While horror films often create suspense by preying on the viewer’s anticipation that something will occur in the “empty” space of a shot, Mitchell’s approach is absolutely relentless in that he demands one’s awareness of the entire frame. It is perhaps this very dynamic that makes It Follows so effectively frightening and, moreover, that gives the film its lasting impact. The very filmmaking encourages a certain paranoia, making even the moments between the biggest scares carry an added dread. And that our awareness of creeping death is mirrored by the film’s young adults confronting mortality for the first time is what really makes the film something special.

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