Friday, March 27, 2015

IT FOLLOWS ... and Scares and Gives me the Willies and You Should Get to the Theater

To those of you who know that I am a bit of a horror soundtrack junkie, that I collect soundtracks and listen to them while I work out and work and drive and eat breakfast with the kids, you'll be happy to know that I already made a purchase of the It Follows soundtrack on vinyl based on the recommendation of some friends and a one minute sampling before even watching the movie. It was that good. Sight unseen. Blind buy. Retro synth gorgeous with plenty of dark, brooding and a little bit of the ol' JC (that's John Carpenters to you squares) to make me feel downtrodden Assault on Precinct good about the bass hits. That's the first thing I want to offer you about It Follows, a movie that I just had the chance to review. The score is something strong and special. I'm going to add it to the pumping iron, horror music till you bust a gripper music playlist. Rich Vreeland has done some work on a few shorts, but he better start thinking of taking this whole "music thing" to all of your independent features. I want to hear his music in your film. Make it happen.

Extremely mild spoilers ahead. Nothing that you don't find out in the first couple minutes, but let's be overly cautious for folks who like movies and don't want to form an opinion based upon this review or the "internet's opinion" of the movie. Hint: see the movie.

It Follows is not a gratuitous movie. While a great deal of the film is based around the premise of the sexually transmitting of a supernatural death sentence, you don't have to watch any one take the old one eye down to tuna town. It's loving. It's emotional, and with that you get characters with which you can related who feel fictional but approachable. These are friends, and they feel the people you've known without feeling so real that you might find their flaws a reason to turn on them. Our main crew are frightened, react appropriately, and I'm glad we got a cast that works so well together even if their are some strange moments that feel disjointed due to a lack of explanation or evolution of character. This is a spooky flick that comes in at under 2 hours. We'll cut them some slack.

The underlying feeling as a  I watched this eerie flick was that I had seen some of these scenes before in other movies. There are moments that truly felt as though I was watching slight improvs of scenes from the original Nightmare on Elm Street or perhaps Halloween; perhaps they were almost homages to some of my favorite horror pictures . Two moments in particular. One involving our leading lady watching her friend's house waiting to see if anything would happen to him (akin to Nancy watching Glen's house through barred window. Another involved a school sequence where Jay is in class, staring out a window and begins to see strange things all the while a piece of literature is read in the background. Are you thinking Laurie Strode... fate? Are you thinking Nancy... dreeeeeeams? Either works and intentional or not it's something I picked up on. Rest assured I have not spoiled anything for you. Just something to keep under your hat while you watch It Follows this weekend as it opens to a wider audience.

This movie has some moments of retro cool that shows itself in some of the props used in various scenes that sort of try to age the film that don't always work with the automobiles I'm seeing in the background. The old station wagon is great, but the newer model cars thrust me out of that dreamy nostalgia state.  It definitely feels old and at times, dirty. 1980's chic with a touch of the now (a makeup mirror that double as an e-reader?). The movie was filmed in Detroit which explains the bombed out look of plenty of the scenes that give the picture an appropriate feeling of dread. David Robert Mitchell has used Detroit as his backdrop before in The Myth of the American Sleepover. For a new guy on the block he makes a damn good movie.

There's the slightest... ever so slight... bit of gore. Nothing a Walking Dead fan can't handle. Do not expect a "full loaded" burrito here. This is more of "mind plays tricks on you"/suspense/tension film. Yes there are jump scares, and they work perfectly. There are moments where "IT" will just show up... out of nowhere...and not as you might expect which had this viewer jumping backward. I was riveted, waiting for the scares and pissed off that my eyes felt so dry from keeping them so wide. That's probably the best recommendation for a horror picture with plenty of atmosphere and organic scares that you could hope for.

Enjoy some of the Horror and Science Fiction features that pop up from time to time. Invaders from Mars was the one that is most prominent in my memory. Who can forget those eyes. I'm not entirely certain that the choice of these background flicks plays into the underlying meaning of the film, but they're good fun. After reviewing the new Scream Factory Blu for Invaders from Mars recently and now seeing a reference to the original in It Follows, I'm due for a rewatch of the original. Speaking of underlying messages or watching It Follows as a moral tale or a tale that tries to demonize sexual promiscuity or that the central theme of the movie should have a metaphor that suggests a passing of sexually transmitted disease or AIDS, I'm going to leave that for the people who want to discuss the implicit race discussion in Night of the Living Dead. I just wanna be scared, and I was. Happily so. I was scared and I didn't feel shitty afterward because of the movie having to be so overly downtrodden  or "real", and I was scarred while being thoroughly entertained. Too many movies go for the mean spirited "fuck you". Too many want you to feel like your watching your waking life. Thanks to It Follows for being a horror movie and not a portrait of doom and gloom.

What does all this mean? It means you should support It Follows on its expanded opening weekend starting Friday March 27th. Great Friday night movie. May not get you laid in the theater or afterward. Don't let that stop you.

Here's a sampling of the music so you can get excited for the soundtrack and try to grab the vinyl as well:

Here's the trailer although I recommend just jumping in without listening to anymore hype or setting an expectation. I didn't really know what I was going to watch and that helped to avoid the over-hyping that turns great horror into the internet's opinion pinata.  Check your local listings. It's playing two miles away from me. I may go check er out again.

From Radius/TWC:

IT FOLLOWS was written and directed by David Robert Mitchell and features an up and coming ensemble cast that includes Maika Monroe (THE GUEST, THE 5th WAVE) in the lead role.

Monroe plays 19-year-old Jay, who, after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, suddenly finds herself plagued by nightmarish visions. She can't shake the sensation that someone, or something, is following her.

As the threat closes in, Jay and her friends must somehow escape the horrors that are only a few steps behind.

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