“It could look like someone you know or it could be a stranger in a crowd. Whatever helps it get close to you. Just don’t let it touch you”. The unusually golden period for horror films seems never-ending. The modernist twist to the age-old formula of gory villains and jumps-cares is the result of conscious efforts by filmmakers to reinvent the very definition of horror. It is no longer confined to scaring people with inhumane faces and voices. It has transformed to include psychological confrontations with the past and the chaotic internal struggles of the characters. ‘It Follows’ plays on this notion of external insobriety and effectively combines various thematic concepts such as societal dogmas and personal inhibitions. The film’s original idea blends modern horror-realism with the surrealist appeal of Hitchcockian psychological arches to produce a taut, nervy thriller that relentlessly scares and surprises.
The plot of the film took shape out of director David Robert Mitchell’s dream. It is based on recurring dreams he had in his youth about being followed: “I didn’t use those images for the film, but the basic idea and the feeling I used. From what I understand, it’s an anxiety dream. Whatever I was going through at that time, my parents divorced when I was around that age, so I imagine it was something to do with that.” The vessel for this curse like effect developed as a consequence of the mass hysteria that gripped America in the late ’90s. AIDS was perceived as an incurable disease, one that was also communicable. Mitchell has refrained thus far from cementing his stand on this parallel but has strongly indicated to be the case. ‘It Follows’ is rooted in the expansive aesthetic that Mitchell used to construct the film. One of the key elements of success for the film’s formula is the ‘fear of the known’, and hence, a wide lens allowed Mitchell to develop palpable tension in scenes with a patient buildup.
This is a distinguishing feature of the film and separates it from generic horror films and its matchable contemporaries. The tension in the film flows from what the viewer can see and the character can’t. This visual beckoning enables the narrative to be predictably unpredictable. The horror here is the silence and apparently delirious actions of ‘it’. When the very source of the disturbance is moot, the nature of that disturbance turns out to be the driving force and very uncomfortable. This article shall dissect the plot and the ending of the film. Happy reading!
The film starts with a hurried character running from something. Annie, as she is appropriated by her father, rushes in and out of her house a couple of times, until she finally leaves with the car. She sits alone on the beach at night, waiting for the inevitable to take place. She calls her father one last time and exchanges emotional messages of care and affection. Her corpse, with a broken leg, is shown later in the morning.
After this psychedelic start, we are introduced to sisters Kelly and Jaimie Height. The college students and their friends discuss Jaimie’s impending date with Hugh, a guy she recently met. The couple goes to the movies and plays a game. Each has to guess the person the other chose to be in the moment and why. When it is Hugh’s turn to guess, he points to a girl in a yellow dress, something which Jaimie can’t see. A shocked Hugh quickly gathers Jaimie and leaves the theatre in a rush. The strange move baffles Jaimie but her suspicions aren’t long-lived. The two then proceed to have sexual intercourse in the car, following which Hugh sedates Jaimie with chloroform.