It Follows (2015)
It could look like someone you know, or it could be a stranger in a crowd...
There's a time in everyone's life when you go to hang out with a friend who happened to bring their other friend over at the same time. You don't know their other friend, but you're not excited that they're tagging along...at first. At some point during the night, you realize that this friend is awesome. They're funny, charming, and into the same things you are...sometimes more than your original friend, who is also pretty awesome.
That's It Follows.
I'm a big fan of 2014's The Guest. I went in to that movie not knowing much about it, but walked out of it excited and refreshed - in my review last year, I called it The Terminator, if an 80's era John Carpenter directed it. This year, I saw that It Follows was coming out, which had many people from The Guest involved (including it's star female, Maika Monroe)...but here's the thing...it's a horror movie.
I'm not a big fan of horror movies. It's not that I get scared of them...it's that most of them suck, because most of them have forgotten what makes a horror movie scary - atmosphere. Modern horror movies heavily rely on jump scares, which doesn't do it for me. I want Halloween tension. I want Nightmare on Elm Street tension. That feeling that you don't know what is going to happen next, but it's bad.
Needless to say, I went into It Follows with tepid expectations. I came out blown away.
The plot is really simple - a supernatural force that is sexually transmitted follows you until you either die, or pass it onto someone else. It's basically a demon/ghost STD (or an allegory for AIDS or sexual abuse, I suppose). Sex. The ultimate horror movie sin. You knew while watching a Friday the 13th movie that if two characters started having sex, they were toast. It Follows is the modern day equivalent.
The plot sounds so basic, but it's what they do with the story that makes this thing really special. There are some dumb moves made by the characters, but most of the things characters do here make sense. There's a particular scene near the end that is so 'Goonies-esque' that's it's funny (and at the same time, heartbreaking) - it just felt so smart, as in..."yeah, I might have actually tried that." The visuals are amazing (some of the shots here are incredibly striking), the atmosphere succeeds in being creepy as hell. The music is awesome, soaked in the same 80's synth sounds as The Guest. The movie isn't perfect - some characters still do some things that don't make sense, but the good far outweighs whatever problems I had with it.