Film Review : It Follows (2015)

IMDB Score – 7.6
Rotten Tomato Score – 95%

Directed By – David Robert Mitchell
Starring – Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Lili Sepe, Olivia Luccardi, Jake Weary, and Daniel Zovatto

A young woman is followed by an unknown supernatural force after getting involved in a sexual confrontation.

*Insert STD joke that everybody seems to be making here*

There. Now that THAT’S over with…

I feel the need in every horror review I write to point out that modern horror movies are hard to do correctly. First off, studios have trouble greenlighting a lot of horror films because the great ones almost HAVE to be rated R and rated R films hurt box office sales. If your film does get on its feet, then it’s got to be pretty unique or else it’s going to come off redundant and stale. As of late, there has been an almost “rebirth” of 80’s style horror/thriller films that take simple premises and make them unique with style, atmosphere, and callbacks to horror classics of the 70s and 80s. Films like Drive, House of the Devil, The Guest, Cabin in the Woods, and The Innkeepers have done unique things with either tired tropes or dated plot devices. Cabin in the Woods did this perfectly and then spun us onto our head with the 3rd act. House of the Devil fully embodied an 80’s slasher flick. The Innkeepers took a typical ghost story and through atmosphere and brilliant camera work, made it unique and special. That being said, I’ll always respect and applaud films that try to do something different, or try to spice up something familiar. It Follows is a film that I respect, am intrigued by, but am left wishing it gave me a little bit more.

The film has a relatively easy premise. Whoever has “it” is followed by people, seemingly random people, and if they are caught, they die. They have to sleep with somebody and then “it” gets passed along to that person and the chain continues. If that person dies, “it” goes back down the chain of teenager sex until nobody is left. The followers only walk, and can’t be seen by anybody else. Off the bat, that’s a creepy premise. We all have been walking home late at night and notice that somebody is walking behind us. Even if that person is harmless, the sense of unease is there. So an entire film based on random people coming for you dead eyed at all hours of the night scares the shit out of me. I was disappointed though, not so much with the film, but rather by own self. You see, I wasn’t scared, not once, throughout the whole film. Save for one scene, I was watching this film no differently than I would watch a Pixar film. I guess the suspense just didn’t grab me or some outside forces from the day just numbed me to being scared but I just honestly wasn’t tense at all. I did however appreciate how one could find this suspenseful. They certainly did a good job keeping the camera flowing at the right places and still at others. There were many 360 pan shots that revealed some horrible thing or a stagnant show with something coming closer in the distance. I liked that. The film is well made. I just didn’t really get it.

Like I alluded to earlier, the film definitely paid tribute to classic films and directors. The score, which was amazing by the way, is straight from Carpenter himself. The night shots and horror scenes look like they were shot by Wes Craven. Hell, I was even reminded of The Shining a couple times when a scene would concludeand I was left scratching my head as to what the hell I just saw.

I think that’s what is eating at me with this film. It’s not as if I didn’t like it. I liked it plenty. I just didn’t get it enough to really love it. It’s a film that could definitely change my opinion of it over time, but I’m just not there yet. It’s flawed. The 3rd act was kind of a let down. There wasn’t a satisfactory end. Ambiguous is fine, but I needed a little bit more from it before it ended, which it abruptly did. There seems to be a lot of underlying themes that have NOTHING TO DO WITH FUCKING STDS that I just can’t seem to grasp. Is the film about relationships? We have Jay, a girl, played by Maika Monroe, running away from “it” while her friend Paul, played by Keir Gilchrist, is only trying to get closer to her. I enjoyed this dynamic. Is the film about the youth of adolescents? Are these kids literally running away from death which is slowly inching its way towards them? Like I said, “it” walks very slow. Whatever the main theme is, it’s not obvious, which both excites me and frustrates me. I like challenging films. I also like to figure things out. I haven’t figured this one out yet.

You should see the film. Why? Maybe you’ll understand it more than I did. If you’re a horror fan and have been waiting for a unique film that hasn’t been done before, then go see it. It’s a stylish film that does something completely different. Michael Meyers may have started the slow walk killer thing, but this film takes it to another level. I’ll always pay to see films like this. I love ambition. I just may not always get it. I need to watch this again.

3.5/5



Film Review : Evil Dead (2013)

IMDB Score – 6.5
Rotten Tomato Score – 62%

Directed By – Fede Alvarez
Starring – Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, and Elizabeth Blackmore

Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods. The evil presence possesses them until only one is left to fight for survival.

As I am making my way through the 2013 films I neglected to see in theaters, I am being reminded why I chose not to see them in the first place. I usually hate remakes. The reason I do is not because it “ruins” the original because that statement doesn’t make any damn sense. Remakes don’t cease to make the originals exist. You like the original “Total Recall” better than remake? Great! Keep watching the original. Don’t see the new one. Easy. The originals will always be there for us. No, the reason I hate remakes is simply because I’ve seen it before. I know the story. I know what is going to happen and am forced to put all my faith into the remakes ability to do something different which always seems to fall flat. Horror films are the usual culprit in this regard in where they take an original piece of work and try to either make the same exact thing over again or try to out do it. We saw it with Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, and The Thing. I know what you’re saying about that last one. BUT JOHN CARPENTER REMADE THE THING AND IT WAS GREAT! John Carpenter did something completely different with his remake and it worked perfectly mostly due to the fact that the special effects were state of the art at the time and still may be the best special effects film ever made (take that James Cameron). Great remakes are few and far between but they’re going to keep happening whether we like it or not. I may not lighten up to the idea of paying for these remakes but if one comes along with a good review I might take a chance on one of them.

I should have taken a chance on Evil Dead.

Seeing this in a theater on a packed night would have been awesome. It is by far one of the most disgusting and gore filled mainstream release I think I’ve ever seen. I mean this thing was playing in theaters next to kids movies. That’s incredible. It took the shlocky B level violence in the original cult classic and turned it up to 11. The story pretty much remained the same (and only solidified how great a satire Cabin in the Woods was) but that isn’t the feature of this film. This was just good old fashioned horror fest. The effects were beyond impressive and just seemed light years ahead of anything Eli Roth has cooked up in recent times. This isn’t “torture porn”. It is well crafted blood art. I honestly don’t know why I liked it more than any other film that just tries to go for shock value instead of actually trying to tell a story. While not the most complex of narratives, the film stayed very close to the original plot line and didn’t try to go out of the box too much. Sometimes simplicity trumps creativity.

It was basically just a really fun and cringe inducing film that I can see being a great hit at parties for those who want to watch something entirely ridiculous yet entirely intense and fun. Just don’t eat before watching it. Oh and Bruce Campbell just can’t resist a chainsaw can he?

4/5