It Follows movie art

It Follows – A Modern Horror Classic 10 Years Later

In October of 2023 it was announced that the filming for They Follow would begin in 2024 as the much-anticipated sequel to David Robert Mitchell’s slow-burning, paranormal 2014 Horror film It Follows. Ironically right around its predecessor’s tenth anniversary, it seemed an in-depth examination of the original It Follows was in order.

Looking back, by 2014 Supernatural Horror had been exploding at the box office. At this point in time audiences did not seem at all to be interested in reality-based Horror anymore; perhaps because it was too grim and too painful to watch. The days of brutally graphic films like 2005’s Hostel or the 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes were temporarily behind us and audiences wanted escapism more than anything else. So, when a little movie called It Follows by an unknown indie filmmaker burst onto the festival scene, it genuinely set not only the Horror scene ablaze, but also attracted non-Horror fans. Originally premiering at the 67th Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2014, It Follows was that perfect sweet spot of commercial and art house.

It Follows movie
It Follows / RADiUS-TWC (2015)

Every so often, a filmmaker will make a film within a particular genre and completely deconstruct it. That in mind, the old Slasher movie cliché of if you have sex, then you die was successfully re-examined through David Robert Mitchell’s voice. Yes, the film is intense (i.e., the vicious opening set piece), and yes, it is unsettling (the Old Woman). Still, most importantly, it penetrated (pun intended) a universal nerve to which most people can relate… sex and the dangers that can sometimes come with it.

After It Follows’ triumphant festival run in 2014, the film finally entered domestic theaters on March 13, 2015, and grossed almost $22 million against a $1 million budget. A healthy margin for any film of this artistic quality, it is a film that even ten years later, is still mentioned in pitch meetings at big studios. “It’s This meets It Follows!” or “It’s It Follows meets That!” In fact, you can advocate that 2022’s smash hit, Smile, might have even taken a page from its book.

It Follows movie photo
It Follows / RADiUS-TWC (2015)

Despite David Robert Mitchell’s unique storytelling, you must also recognize Actress Maika Monroe, who carries the film on her shoulders. She made what could have been a campy performance incredibly subtle, vulnerable, and haunting. Not to say the supporting actors around her did not do the same… because they do just fine. An understated, paranoid Jake Weary kicks the plot into motion. Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, and Lili Sepe also add a nice touch of comic relief. Overall, it is an all-around fun cast of characters performed with a tonal specificity only a filmmaker like Mitchell could conjure up (see his cult follow-up, 2018’s Under the Silver Lake).

If there is a criticism of It Follows, it is that the opening set piece is so visceral and unnerving that the rest of the movie arguably cannot quite live up to the first five minutes. However, there are still many scary and memorable moments to be had during the remaining hour and thirty-five. Besides, no one has ever said, “Your movie is a dud cause the opening was too good.” It also doesn’t hurt that It Follows climaxes (more pun intended) with a badass sequence at an indoor swimming pool where all our key characters band together to fight off the entity; finishing with a wave of blood filling the pool and, ultimately, the frame. It might not have had the same impact as the first scene, but it is still pretty damn satisfying. All these factors considered, it should be interesting to see where They Follows takes the story, but if anything it reminds us that we should all dig into It Follows once again as it celebrates 10 years of changing the modern Horror scene. 

It Follows / RADiUS-TWC (2015)
It Follows / RADiUS-TWC (2015)

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