It Follows

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It Follows
Retro Poster
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Robert Mitchell
Produced by
  • Rebecca Green
  • Laura D. Smith
  • David Robert Mitchell
  • David Kaplan
  • Erik Rommesmo
  • P. Jennifer Dana
Written byDavid Robert Mitchell
Music byDisasterpeace
CinematographyMike Gioulakis
Edited byJulio C. Perez IV
  • Northern Lights Films
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Two Flints
Distributed byRADiUS-TWC
Release date
  • May 17, 2014 (2014-05-17) (Cannes)
  • March 13, 2015 (2015-03-13) (United States)
Running time
100 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$2 million[2]
Box office$23.3 million[3]

It Follows is a 2014 American supernatural psychological horror film written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, and starring Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi, and Lili Sepe.[4] The film follows a teenage girl named Jay, who is pursued by a supernatural entity after a sexual encounter.[5]

The film debuted at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, and was later purchased by RADiUS-TWC for distribution. After a successful limited release beginning on March 13, 2015, the film had a wide release on March 27, 2015. It received critical acclaim and grossed $23.3 million worldwide.


In Detroit, a young woman flees to sit by herself on the beach after escaping from a house, suspecting she is being chased by an unknown threat. The next morning, her mangled body is seen lying on the beach.

Oakland University student Jay goes on a date with her new boyfriend, Hugh. That night, Hugh points out a woman in the back of the theater. When Jay says she cannot see the woman, Hugh becomes unnerved and asks that they leave. On another date, Hugh and Jay have sex in his car, but afterwards, he incapacitates Jay with chloroform, and she wakes up tied to a wheelchair in the Packard Plant, where Hugh explains that she will be pursued by an entity that only they can see and that it can take the appearance of any person. If it catches Jay, it will kill her and pursue the previous person to have passed it on: Hugh. After they see a naked woman walking toward them, Hugh drives Jay home and flees. The next day, the police cannot find the naked woman or Hugh, who was living under a false identity.

At school, Jay sees an old woman in a hospital gown walking towards her, invisible to others. Jay's sister Kelly and her friends, Paul and Yara, agree to help and spend the night in Jay and Kelly's house. That night someone smashes the kitchen window; Paul investigates but sees no one. Inside the house, Jay sees a disheveled, urinating, half-naked woman walking toward her and runs upstairs to the others, who cannot see the entity. When a tall man, seemingly with no eyes, enters the bedroom, Jay flees the house; her friends catch up to her at a nearby playground. With the help of their neighbor, Greg, the group discovers Hugh's real name, Jeff Redmond, and trace him to his address. Jeff's mother answers the door, and Jay realizes that the naked woman she had seen coming for her in the Packard Plant was in the form of Mrs. Redmond. Jeff explains that the entity began pursuing him after a one-night stand and that Jay can pass it on by having sex with someone else.

Greg drives Jay, Kelly, Yara, and Paul to his family's lake house, and teaches Jay to shoot a revolver. The entity arrives in the form of Yara and attacks Jay on the lakefront. Jay's friends ward it off by breaking a chair over its body, and Jay shoots it in the head, but it recovers unharmed and attacks Jay again, taking the form of a boy who lives next door to Jay. She flees in Greg's car, crashes into a cornfield, and wakes up in a hospital with a broken arm. Greg has sex with Jay in the hospital, as he does not believe the entity exists. Days later, Jay sees the entity in the form of Greg walking towards Greg's house. It smashes a window at Greg's house and enters. Jay tries to warn the real Greg by telephone, but he does not answer. She runs into the house and finds the entity in the form of Greg's half-naked mother knocking on his door before it jumps on Greg. Jay sees the entity having sex with a dead Greg, then Jay flees by car and spends the night outdoors. On a beach, Jay sees three young men on a boat. She then undresses and walks into the water. Back home, Paul, eager to take the risk, offers Jay to pass it on to him, but she refuses.

The group plans to kill the entity by luring it into a swimming pool and dropping electrical devices into the water. Jay, waiting in the pool, spots the entity and realizes it has taken the appearance of her father. Instead of entering the pool, it throws the devices at her. Firing at an invisible target, Paul accidentally wounds Yara but shoots the entity in the head, and once covered by a sheet, it is shot once more causing it to fall into the pool. As it pulls Jay underwater, Paul shoots it again, and Jay escapes. She approaches the pool and sees it filling with blood. Jay and Paul have sex. That night, Paul drives through town, passing prostitutes. Later, Jay and Paul walk down the street holding hands, as a figure walks behind them.


  • Maika Monroe as Jaime “Jay” Height, a 19-teen-year old college student and the main protagonist of the film.
  • Keir Gilchrist as Paul Bolduan, a friend of Jay, Kelly, and Yara.
  • Daniel Zovatto as Greg Hannigan, Jay and Kelly’s flirtatious neighbor.
  • Jake Weary as Hugh / Jeff Redmond, Jay’s former boyfriend who gave her the virus of being followed.
  • Olivia Luccardi as Yara Davis, Kelly’s friend.
  • Lili Sepe as Kelly Height, Jay’s high school aged sister.
  • Bailey Spry as Annie Marshall, one of the victim’s of the virus.
  • Debbie Williams as Mrs. Height, Jay and Kelly’s addict mother.
  • Ruby Harris as Mrs. Redmond, Jeff’s mother
  • Leisa Pulido as Mrs. Hannigan, Greg’s mother.
  • Ele Bardha as Mr. Height, Jay and Kelly’s deceased father.
  • Ingrid Mortimer as Old Woman in Pajamas
  • Alexyss Spradlin as Girl in Kitchen
  • Mike Lanier as Giant Man
  • Don Hails as Old Naked Man
  • Charles Gertner as Neighbor Boy
  • Erin Stone as Girl in Courtyard
  • Luke Hodgson as Lawson High School Striped Sweater Boy

Development and production[edit]

Writer and director David Robert Mitchell conceived the film 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."[6] The role that sexual transmission plays came later, from Mitchell's desire for something that could transfer between people.[7] Mitchell started writing the film in 2011 while working on a separate film he intended to be his second feature film; however, Mitchell struggled with this would-be second feature and made It Follows as his next film instead.[8] Mitchell realized that the concept he was working on was tough to describe and thus refused to discuss the plot when asked what he was working on, reasoning later, "When you say it out loud, it sounds like the worst thing ever."[7]

Filming began on September 30, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan and wrapped on October 31.[9] Mitchell used wide-angle lenses when filming to give the film an expansive look,[9] and cited the works of George Romero and John Carpenter as influences on the film's compositions and visual aesthetic.[6]

The film's monster, shot composition, and overall aesthetic were influenced by the work of contemporary photographer Gregory Crewdson. Director of photography Mike Gioulakis said: "We're both big fans of the still photographer Gregory Crewdson and David had him in his look book from day one. [Crewdson's] photographs have the same kind of surreal suburban imagery that we wanted for It Follows."[10]


It Follows has sparked numerous interpretations from film critics in regard to the source of "it" and the film's symbolism.[6] Critics have interpreted the film as a parable about HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted infections,[11] and the social perceptions thereof; the sexual revolution;[12] and "primal anxieties" about intimacy.[13]

Mitchell stated: "I'm not personally that interested in where 'it' comes from. To me, it's dream logic in the sense that they're in a nightmare, and when you're in a nightmare there's no solving the nightmare. Even if you try to solve it."[6] Mitchell said that while Jay "opens herself up to danger through sex, sex is the one way in which she can free herself from that danger ... We're all here for a limited amount of time, and we can't escape our mortality ... but love and sex are two ways in which we can – at least temporarily – push death away".[11]


It Follows (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by
Released2 February 2015 (2015-02-02)
LabelEditions Milan Music
  • Richard Glasser
  • JC Chamboredon
  • Stefan Karrer
Disasterpeace chronology
The Floor is Jelly
It Follows (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

The score was composed by Rich Vreeland, better known as Disasterpeace.[14][15] It was released on February 2, 2015 over Editions Milan Music with permission of The Weinstein Company with a digital booklet.[16] The digital version of the album went on sale March 10, 2015.


It Follows premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2014. It was released theatrically in France on February 4, 2015, and in the United Kingdom on February 27. It was given a limited release in the United States on March 13[17] and a wide release on March 27[18] in 1,200 theaters.[19] The film also received a limited release on March 27, 2015, in Canada by Mongrel Media.[20]


Box office[edit]

It Follows earned $163,453 in its opening weekend from four theaters at an average of $40,863 per theater, making it the best limited opening for a film released in the United States and Canada in 2015.[21] The film made its international debut in the United Kingdom on February 27, 2015, where it earned $573,290 (£371,142) on 190 screens for the #8 position. The following week, the film dropped two spots to #10 with a weekend gross of $346,005 (£229,927) from 240 screens.[citation needed]

The film had a domestic gross of $14.7 million and an international gross of $8.6 million for a worldwide total of $23.3 million.[3]

Critical response[edit]

It Follows received critical acclaim.[22] On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 96% approval rating and a rating average score of 8.07/10, based on 253 reviews. The critical consensus states: "Smart, original, and above all terrifying, It Follows is the rare modern horror film that works on multiple levels – and leaves a lingering sting."[23] On review aggregator website Metacritic, the film has an average rating of 83 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[24] On Rotten Tomatoes' aggregation, it was ranked as the sixth most-praised film of the year.[25]

Peter Debruge of Variety gave an overall positive review, saying: "Starting off strong before losing its way in the end, this stylish, suspenseful chiller should significantly broaden Mitchell's audience without disappointing his early supporters in the slightest."[26] David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter said, "Creepy, suspenseful and sustained, this skillfully made lo-fi horror movie plays knowingly with genre tropes and yet never winks at the audience, giving it a refreshing face-value earnestness that makes it all the more gripping."[27] Jon Niccum of The Kansas City Star said, "It’s the ideal horror movie in a post-Facebook, post-Twitter, post-Instagram world, where a few imprudent seconds can lead to repercussions that never go away."[28] Tim Robey of The Daily Telegraph gave the film five out of five stars and said, "With its marvellously suggestive title and thought-provoking exploration of sex, this indie chiller is a contemporary horror fan's dream come true."[29] Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club said, "Despite all the fun-to-unpack ideas swirling around Mitchell's premise, this is first and foremost a showcase for his considerable talents as a widescreen visual stylist, which are most apparent in the movie's deftly choreographed, virtuoso 360 degree pans."[30] Mike Pereira of Bloody Disgusting described the film as a "creepy, mesmerizing exercise in minimalist horror" and labelled it "a classical horror masterpiece".[31] Michael Nordine of Vice named It Follows as "the best horror film in years",[32] and critic Mark Frauenfelder called it "the best horror film in over a decade".[33]

Possible sequel[edit]

Following the film's success, Radius-TWC co-president Tom Quinn announced that the studio is looking into a possible sequel.[34] Quinn has expressed the idea of flipping the concept of the first film around, with Maika Monroe's Jay or another protagonist going down the chain to find the origin of "it".[35]


  1. ^ "It Follows (15)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  2. ^ Wakeman, Gregory (2015). "It Follows Has Some Exciting Ideas For A Sequel". CinemaBlend. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "It Follows (2015)". The Numbers. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  4. ^ Kohn, Eric (May 24, 2014). "Cannes Review: It Follows Is a Teen Horror Movie Like You've Never Seen It Before". IndieWire. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  5. ^ Barton, Steve (February 26, 2015). "It Follows The First Clip". Dread Central. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d Rawson-Jones, Ben (March 8, 2015). "Exploring the horror of 'It Follows': David Robert Mitchell interview". Digital Spy. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Watkins, Gwynne (March 20, 2015). "The Yahoo Movies Interview: It Follows Director David Robert Mitchell on His Surprise Horror Hit". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  8. ^ Dowd, A. A. (March 12, 2015). "David Robert Mitchell on his striking new horror film, 'It Follows'". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Whitaker, Richard (March 26, 2015). "It Follows Goes Everywhere". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  10. ^ Mulcahey, Matt (March 31, 2015). ""We Didn't Have to Add Too Much Creepiness": It Follows DP Mike Gioulakis". Filmmaker. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Lyne, Charlie (February 21, 2015). "It Follows: 'Love and sex are ways we can push death away'". The Guardian. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  12. ^ Olszyk, Nick (April 14, 2015). "Pope Paul VI Makes a Horror Movie". Catholic World Report. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  13. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (February 26, 2015). "It Follows review – sexual dread fuels a modern horror classic". The Guardian. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  14. ^ Barkan, Jonathan (February 25, 2015). "Stream 3 Tracks From The It Follows Soundtrack". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  15. ^ "25 New Faces of 2014: Rich Vreeland". Filmmaker. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  16. ^ Barton, Steve (February 25, 2015). "It Follows – Listen to Three Tracks from Disasterpiece". Dread Central. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  17. ^ Barton, Steve (February 13, 2015). "It Follows These UK TV Spots". Dread Central. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  18. ^ Barton, Steve (March 24, 2015). "It Follows Opening Wide; See it Friday!". Dread Central. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
  19. ^ Cooper, Patrick (March 24, 2015). "This Weekend It Follows Expands to 1,200 Theaters Nationwide!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  20. ^ Parkin, Nigel (March 27, 2015). "It Follows: A Critical Analysis". Fangoria. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  21. ^ Brooks, Brian (March 15, 2015). "Audiences Tracking It Follows Closely In 2015's Best Specialty Debut". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  22. ^ Ritman, Alex (March 3, 2015). "U.K. Box Office: 'Exotic Marigold' Sequel Topples 'Fifty Shades'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  23. ^ It Follows at Rotten Tomatoes
  24. ^ It Follows at Metacritic
  25. ^ "Best of 2015". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  26. ^ Debruge, Peter (May 28, 2014). "Cannes Film Review: It Follows". Variety. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  27. ^ Rooney, David (May 17, 2014). "'It Follows': Cannes Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  28. ^ Niccum, Jon (March 26, 2015). "'It Follows' and won't let go". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  29. ^ Robey, Tom (May 18, 2014). "It Follows, review: 'tender, ingenious and scalp-prickingly scary'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  30. ^ Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy (September 5, 2014). "Toronto 2014, Day One: Judging Robert Downey Jr., catching up with Locarno and Cannes". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  31. ^ Miska, Brad (February 26, 2015). "It Follows Clip Explains Sexual Stalker Curse". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  32. ^ Nordine, Michael (March 4, 2015). "'It Follows' Is the Best Horror Film in Years". Vice. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  33. ^ Frauenfelder, Mark (March 16, 2015). "Why "It Follows" is the best horror movie in over a decade". Boing Boing. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  34. ^ Miska, Brad (April 8, 2015). "Radius-TWC Wants An It Follows Sequel". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  35. ^ Sullivan, Kevin P. (April 8, 2015). "It Follows sequel could take story in the other direction". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 8, 2015.

External links[edit]