In the artfully creepy horror film It Follows, sex kills (eventually). After a night of romance, nineteen-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe) learns that in the act of making love, her boyfriend (Jake Weary) has purposefully infected her, as it were, with a supernatural curse. Soon, Jay is being stalked by a zombie-like being that never appears in the same body twice.
“It” could be anywhere — in the far distance, or right outside Jay’s bedroom door, ready to pounce. Writer-director David Robert Mitchell’s follow-up to his rather wonderful debut film, The Myth of the American Sleepover, appears to take place in the late 1970s or early ’80s. There’s nary an iPad in sight — just heavy furniture, ugly lamps, and the sense that Jay’s demonic dilemma is just another life danger the grown-ups (who are nowhere to be seen) neglected to mention.
Since it premiered last year at the Cannes Film Festival, It Follows has been heralded by many critics as the scariest movie since time began, but diehard fright-flick fans (such as this reviewer) may not agree. Mitchell’s unwillingness to define the parameters of the specter haunting Jay leads to a finale that’s muddled and confusing, and definitely not scary. Then again, maybe it’s just me. I wish I had seen It Follows — which is refreshingly free of bloody violence — in a theater packed with teens and college students.
Mitchell clearly means for this film to speak to them, and if the kids think this is the scariest thing ever, then so be it.