• It Follows



    Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
    Released on: July 14th, 2015.
    Director: David Robert Mitchell
    Cast: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, John Weary
    Year: 2014
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    The Movie:

    Directed by David Robert Mitchell, 2014’s It Follows starts off with a scene in which a young woman flees the house she shares with her parents, obviously in a bit of a panic. She heads to the coast in the middle of the night and then calls her parents to tell them how much she loves them. Shortly after this, we see she’s been killed, her body mangled and laying, contorted, on the shore.

    From here we meet another young woman, Jay (Maika Monroe), a pretty blonde who lives at home with her younger sister Kelly (Lili Sepe) and their mother (Debbie Williams). One afternoon, after hanging out with friends Paul (Keir Gilchrist) and Yara (Olivia Yuccardi), she heads off to see a movie with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary). The dates takes a strange turn when he spots a woman in a yellow dress that she doesn’t see. The next night they see each other again and after they have sex in the back of his car, he knocks her out. She wakes up bound to a wheelchair in an abandoned building where he tells her that he’s passed something on to her – wherever she goes, it will follow her and the only way that she can get rid of it is to pass it on to someone else the same way that he gave it to her. Sex. If this thing catches her, it will kill her and the curse will revert back to him.

    Hugh drops Jay in the street in front of her home in the middle of the night, something that doesn’t go unnoticed by the guy across the street, Greg (Daniel Zovatto). Soon enough, Jay’s sister and small group of friends realize that she’s deadly serious about this and that the curse she’s been given is very real indeed. The only thing that they have going for them is that, while it’s persistent, it moves slowly – it walks, it doesn’t run. They realize that this will buy them some time when they need it most, as they work together to try and figure out how to beat this… thing.

    It Follows cleverly uses ideas we’ve seen before – a curse being passed on (an obvious example being the Ring films) and sexual promiscuity leading to trouble – and executes it in a way that is both unique and at the same time surprisingly traditional (were it not for one character using an e-reader you’d think this was made in the 80s, what with all the VHS tapes and tube TVs featured in front of the camera). The way in which ‘it follows’ the characters in this movie can’t help but remind us of some of the more memorable and iconic tracking shots used in John Carpenter’s Halloween. The use of bold, bright colors and bombed out Detroit urban decay help to create an interesting sense of visual contrast as well – we’ve got these young, attractive characters often times in bright clothing running about a city that looks as if it’s already half way decomposed. Color and light versus darkness, old versus new, youth versus age – there’s a lot to chew on here in terms of what the movie actually shows us.

    And so too is there a good bit to think on in terms of what the movie doesn’t show us. Mitchell and company don’t bother with jump scares or loud stingers, nor do they over explain things here (a fatal but all too common pitfall in horror movies), instead opting to leave almost all of the ‘why’ to the viewer’s own imagination. While some might walk away disappointed with the lack of a definitive answer by the time the end credits role, those who appreciate a horror film that deals not in splatter or gratuitous overcooked set pieces but mystery and fear of the unknown should certainly appreciate this. All of this is complimented perfectly by some gorgeous camerawork and striking visuals as well as an appropriately effective soundtrack. The technical side of things here is excellent.

    Thankfully the performances are also up to snuff. Maika Monroe is excellent as the lead. You really do feel for her and her fear seems completely believable. She, and the rest of the cast, is likeable enough and as such, you want her to make it out of this situation. She also never plays the part as too young or too old and her character is just really well written. Olivia Luccardi and Lili Seppi are also both very strong here while Daniel Zovatto as the slightly older guy across the street also does fine work. Keir Gilchrist really impresses as well, every bit Monroe’s equal here. His Paul is an interesting character to watch in the film. We know early on that he cares for Jay and that in many ways he’d be willing to do anything to help her, but seeing the more dramatic/relationship oriented side of the story play out allows him to really take his character in some interesting directions.

    Things do fall apart a bit in the last twenty-minutes. Not enough to ruin it, mind you, but the last third isn’t quite as strong as the first two thirds despite the fact that it really shows off some impressive camerawork. The actual ending, however, is pretty solid and (to no one’s surprise) it leaves things open for a sequel.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    It Follows arrives on Blu-ray from Anchor Bay in an excellent looking AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.39.1 widescreen on a 50GB disc. Shot digitally, the image is pristine and it translates to Blu-ray beautifully. The color reproduction on this disc is outstanding, reference quality even, while the black levels look nice and deep but never muddy up the fine detail that’s present throughout the movie. Skin tones look excellent and texture is consistently impressive. There are no problems with any crush nor are there any obvious compression artifacts or shimmering problems. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine the movie looking a whole lot better than it does here. Full marks for the gorgeous picture quality on this disc.

    The only audio option for the feature is a DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track in English. Optional Spanish subtitles are included as is an English closed captioning feature. The audio here is just as strong as the video. Rear channels are used often to help build atmosphere and ambience not just with sound effect placement but by spreading out the score as well. The dialogue remains clear and audible throughout and the levels are perfectly balanced. There’s nice, strong bass response when the movie calls for it but never to the point where it buries things in the mix. There are no problems here, the movie sounds excellent.

    The main extra on the disc is a commentary track from critic Scott Weinberg who is joined by Eric D. Snider, Britt Hayes, Samuel D. Zimmerman, Alison Nastasi and Eric Vespe to discuss the movie. Weinberg is the ringleader here, going solo for the first chunk and then being joined periodically by the others who call in to share their thoughts on the picture. The emphasis here is more on the themes and the execution rather than the technical but the participants do manage to point out some interesting things in regards to the look of the film, use of sound, the locations employed and quite a bit more. There is a lot of genuine enthusiasm here and some good insight as well.

    Additionally, the disc includes a quick five minute interview with the film’s composer, who records under the name Disasterpiece. He speaks about how he got into music and what he tried to bring to the movie with his work. Rounding out the extras is a still gallery of artwork inspired by the movie, a trailer for the feature, animated menus and chapter selection. Trailers for a few unrelated Anchor Bay properties play before the main menu loads and the disc comes with a download code for a digital HD version of the movie. The Blu-ray case fits inside a cardboard slipcase featuring artwork identical to that used on the cover insert.

    The Final Word:

    It Follows is a rare film worthy of all of the praise heaped upon it recently. It’s a smart, beautifully made pictures that tosses aside genre clichés in favor of atmosphere and suspense. The movie is very well acted by a talented cast and it’s just gorgeous to look at – something that you really get to appreciate on this Blu-ray as the audio and video presentation is top notch.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















    Comments 2 Comments
    1. sukebanboy's Avatar
      sukebanboy -
      It was definitely over hyped.....But it was pretty good....until the last 20 mins as you stated.some good shots and cool music really lifted this one.but the end NEARLY ruined it...not coz it was particularly bad..bit because it wasnt up to the level of what had gone before...
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I managed to avoid most of the hype on this one somehow. Enjoyed it for the most part and I'm in agreement with the review also. Some really great direction, some genuinely creepy shit going on, and the sense of dread it managed to convey throughout most of the film made up for some of the more obvious plot holes. But the end, yeah...I felt like it should've had some kind of Donkey Kong music going on or something.