|IT is transmitted sexually. IT follows. IT kills.|
Dir. David Robert Mitchell
Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe
Review By Greg Klymkiw
It's early morning magic hour. A stately home rests quietly in a leafy suburb. The front door bursts open. A babe in her undies races outside, her melons bobbling. In no time at all, she'll be found horribly mutilated. Dead, in fact. Granted, we're in Detroit, one of the most poverty-stricken, crime-ridden and decrepit cities in America, but this grotesque sequence has played out in a bucolic setting, far away from the urban blight.
Well, after this shocking preamble to David Robert Mitchell's It Follows, we meet our heroine Jay (Maika Monroe) and in no time we find out exactly what the deal is. She too lives in a 'burb o' Detroit and when she goes on a date with a hot hunk, she's so charmed, she hops into the back seat of his car, tosses off her panties and lets him deliver one right royal solid boning. As our babe lolls about in post-coital bliss, the hunk goes to the trunk to retrieve something. When he returns, he smothers the scantily clad missy with a chloroform-soaked rag. When she wakes up, he's got her strapped into a wheelchair - in her undies, 'natch. He forces her to look at something and what he shows her is so jaw-agape ghastly she can't quite believe her gorgeous eyes as she trains her gaze at IT.
Make no mistake, IT is real, alright, and now, IT is after her. According to the stud-hunk, the only way to get rid of IT is to pass IT on through sexual intercourse. He offers Jay a bit of solace when he says that IT should be no problem for her to pass on since, she's a girl and most any red-blooded male will want to nail her. Once she convinces her friends that she's cursed, they all make like Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Delightfully enough, the notion of passing on the curse sexually allows for some added boinkage in addition to the carnage and shock-til-you-jump jolts. And, of course, the movie gives us IT.
IT is a formidable supernatural villain. If this is the first thing you've read about the movie, read no other reviews, puff pieces and any other literature which might provide TMI. It's a lot scarier, creepier and deliciously perverse if you go in without knowing anything more than this - IT follows you constantly and IT will kill you if IT catches you. If this happens, the curse reverts to afflicting the entire line of boinkers who've preceded you.
Though the movie doesn't quite go into the sickeningly, darkly hilarious territory of David Cronenberg's Shivers (which also featured a sexually transmitted horror), It Follows is a solidly directed shocker with plenty of homages to John Carpenter's output from the late 70s to early 80s. If Mitchell's screenplay is, save for its supremely original "villain", a bit too reliant on well-worn tropes of the genre, his filmmaking is both dazzling and assured. He's the real thing. He handles the proceedings with great style, visual flourish and far more intelligence than your run-of-the-mill horror-fest. Then again, it also has what any horror movie needs - babes, root-slipping and killing.
We even get some scary sojourns into the downtown decrepitude of Detroit. This stuff in the abandoned Detropia of Motor City is so creepy, one almost wishes most of it were set there. If Mitchell generates a sequel, maybe, just maybe, he'll oblige us. As someone who loves a good horror picture and having been conceived in Detroit, I, for one, can hardly wait. My drool is dripping and pooling up like the thick, crimson rivers of blood which permeate the ever-so-delightful It Follows.
THE FILM CORNER RATING: *** 3-Stars
It Follows enjoys a bang-up TIFF 2014 launch during the spectacularly fun Colin Geddes-programmed series Midnight Madness. For tickets, dates, venues and showtimes, visit the TIFF website HERE. The movie is being distributed in Canada by Mongrel Media.
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