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Your Toronto 2014 Issue Navigator

How the candidates compare on some of the city's biggest issues.

It Follows

An American indie filmmaker gets his John Carpenter on with this creepy tale of a sexually transmitted haunting.

20140901ItFollows
David Robert Mitchell (USA, Midnight Madness)
4 Stars

Nothing in David Robert Mitchell’s tender debut The Myth of the American Sleepover quite prepared us for It Follows, a smart, scary, button-pushing thriller that pays homage to inspirations such as John Carpenter’s Halloween and David Cronenberg’s Shivers. Maika Monroe stars as Jay, a nineteen year-old college freshman whose burgeoning romance with the new kid in town heads south when, after they have sex, he reveals that he has just passed on a sexually transmitted ghost—one that stalks its victims in the form of slow-moving apparitions that only they can see, never stopping until they die or pass the curse on themselves.

Mitchell toys with a lot of exploitative possibilities here, framing Jay’s initial traumatized state as a rape allegory and flirting with the moralistic suggestion that a young woman’s sexuality is dangerous. He’s wise to downplay that reading, dialling up the intensity largely by identifying with Jay and playing her dilemma straight. If its ideas are a bit inchoate, It Follows is still strong stuff, the work of a skillful new genre talent.


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