An American indie filmmaker gets his John Carpenter on with this creepy tale of a sexually transmitted haunting.
David Robert Mitchell (USA, Midnight Madness)
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.