|Directed by||David Robert Mitchell|
|Written by||David Robert Mitchell|
|Edited by||Julio C. Perez IV|
|Box office||$23.3 million|
It Follows is a 2014 American supernatural psychological horror film written and directed by David Robert Mitchell and stars Maika Monroe as Jaime "Jay" Height, a 19-year-old college student who is pursued by a supernatural entity after a sexual encounter, as well as Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi and Lili Sepe.
It Follows 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 acclaim from critics; the Rotten Tomatoes consensus calls it "smart, original and, above all, terrifying". It grossed $23.3 million worldwide against a $1.3 million budget.
The story begins with a wideshot of a street and no sound. Next there's a girl, Annie, who dies by the ocean. The story suddenly shifts to the main character, an Oakland University student named Jaime "Jay" Height (Monroe) who is in her backyard pool. From there, Jaime goes on a date with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Weary). That night, Hugh points out a young girl in the back of the theater. When Jaime says she cannot see the girl, Hugh becomes unnerved and asks that they leave. On another date, Hugh and Jaime have sex in his car, but afterwards, he incapacitates Jaime 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 which can take the appearance of any person. If it catches Jaime, 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 Jaime home and flees.
The next day, the police cannot find the naked woman or Hugh, who was living under a false identity. At school, Jaime sees an old woman in a hospital gown walking towards her, invisible to others. Jaime's sister, Kelly (Sepe) and her friends, Paul Bolduan (Gilchrist) and Yara Davis (Luccardi), agree to help and spend the night in Jaime and Kelly's house. That night, someone smashes the kitchen window; Paul investigates but sees no one. Inside the house, Jaime 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 enters the bedroom, Jaime flees the house; her friends catch up to her at a nearby playground.
With the help of their neighbor, Greg Hannigan (Zovatto), the group discovers Hugh's real name – Jeff Redmond – and traces him to his address. Jeff's mother (Ruby Harris) answers the door and Jaime 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 Jaime can pass it on by having sex with someone else. Greg drives Jaime, Kelly, Yara and Paul to his family's lake house and teaches Jaime to shoot a revolver. The entity arrives in the form of Yara and attacks Jaime on the lakefront. Jaime's friends ward it off by breaking a chair over its body and Jaime shoots it in the head, but it recovers unharmed and attacks Jaime again, this time taking the form of a boy who lives next door to Jaime. She flees in Greg's car, crashes into a cornfield and wakes up in a hospital with a broken arm. Greg has sex with Jaime in the hospital, as he does not believe the entity exists.
Days later, Jaime sees the entity in the form of Greg walking towards Greg's house, smashing a window at Greg's house and entering. Jaime 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 (Leisa Pulido) knocking on his door before it jumps on Greg. Jaime sees the entity having sex with a dead Greg, then flees by car and spends the night outdoors. On a beach, Jaime sees three young men on a boat. She then undresses and walks into the water. Back home, Paul, eager to take the risk, offers Jaime the opportunity 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. Jaime, waiting in the pool, spots the entity and realizes it has taken the appearance of her deceased 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 Jaime underwater, Paul shoots it again and Jaime escapes. She approaches the pool and sees it filling with blood. Jaime and Paul have sex. That night, Paul drives through town, passing prostitutes. Later, Jaime and Paul walk down the street holding hands, as a figure walks behind them.
- Maika Monroe as Jaime "Jay" Height, a 19-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, Jaime's former boyfriend who gave her the virus of being followed.
- Olivia Luccardi as Yara Davis, Kelly's friend.
- Lili Sepe as Kelly Height, Jaime's younger sister.
- Bailey Spry as Annie Marshall, one of the victims of the virus.
- Debbie Williams as Mrs. Height, Jaime 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, Jaime and Kelly's deceased father.
- Ingrid Mortimer as Old Woman in hospital gown
- 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 Clawson High School Striped Sweater Boy
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." The role that sexual transmission plays came later, from Mitchell's desire for something that could transfer between people.
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. 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."
The film was shot in late 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Mitchell used wide-angle lenses when filming to give the film an expansive look, and cited the works of George Romero and John Carpenter as influences on the film's compositions and visual aesthetic. 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."
The score was composed by Rich Vreeland, better known as Disasterpeace. It was released on February 2, 2015 over Editions Milan Music with a digital booklet. The digital version of the album went on sale March 10.
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 and a wide release on March 27 in 1,200 theaters. That same day, the film also received a limited release in Canada by Mongrel Media.
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. 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. 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.
It Follows received critical acclaim. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 95% approval rating and a rating average score of 8.10/10, based on 261 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." On review aggregator website Metacritic, the film has an average rating of 83 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". On Rotten Tomatoes' aggregation, it was ranked as the sixth most-praised film of the year. 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."
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." 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." 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° pans." Mike Pereira of Bloody Disgusting described the film as a "creepy, mesmerizing exercise in minimalist horror" and labeled it as "a classical horror masterpiece." Michael Nordine of Vice named It Follows as "the best horror film in years", and critic Mark Frauenfelder called it "the best horror film in over a decade".
It Follows has sparked numerous interpretations from film critics in regard to the source of "it" and the film's symbolism. Critics have interpreted the film as a parable about HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted infections and the social perceptions thereof; the sexual revolution; and "primal anxieties" about intimacy. 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." Mitchell said that while Jaime "opens herself up to danger through sex, 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."
Following the film's success, Radius-TWC co-president Tom Quinn announced that the studio is looking into a possible sequel. Quinn has expressed the idea of flipping the concept of the first film around, with Jaime or another protagonist going down the chain to find the origin of "it."
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