It cannot be escaped. It exists. It will continue to exist.

It Follows deconstructs tropes, an ’80s film which is not an ’80s film but wants to be an ’80s film – but not totally. The emphasis, and really, the entire design hinges on teen promiscuity.  The inevitability of death, too. “It” takes whatever form It can, even an unshakable memory.

A grueling, bothersome, and appropriately uncomfortable treatment of horror cinema, It Follows does not languish. The film immediately embodies teenage sexuality and perversion through a perspective of fear, or worse, terror. Maika Monroe’s starring character Jay is chased relentlessly by an ambiguous It. The It is whatever interpretation is applied. Given circumstances, Jay’s lines reserved for terrified, closed down victims of sexual assault becomes unnerving. She won’t call the police. She won’t tell her parents. Her friends do not comprehend. In this context, the marketing tagline – “It doesn’t think. It doesn’t feel. It doesn’t give up” – is unnerving.

While using a litany of typical set pieces and set-ups, It Follows does not succumb to a bevy of gore. There is an insistence on avoiding bloodshed. Death lingers here as a presence and does not attack this group of suburban teens. As such, remove the demon and It Follows could still work. That’s part of the genius. While It may carry a physical presence on camera (many forms in fact, from wherein It Follows insinuates much) going without would keep It Follows stimulating.

By the closure, the acts of physical interaction drop It Follows – the widely intelligent use of broad cliches throughout does not stop the feature from sinking itself. In a film like this, where the surface is another teens-run-from-a-killer slog, there is no other end. Unfortunately it’s a disservice to the allegory. Ascertaining guns are a solution turns It Follows from a film of no bullets to all bullets. The effectiveness dims, but then It Follows has another solution, using the prospect of eye-rolling sequel bait for an antagonistic purpose. That works as a recovery. Jay’s fear is felt and the intent is transferred.

Horror films use women for their bodies. This one uses them to progress a conversation…

It Follows clicks as it references and even upends any idea of Jay’s behavior as tawdry. It Follows deconstructs and normalizes the idea of uneven feminine “impurity” when in conjunction with discussions of sexuality. Horror films use women for their bodies. It Follows uses women to progress a conversation through the cliché, then tramples tradition to depict sexualization as an inherent fear. Is It Follows preaching? Maybe, but for understanding – for crucial perspective on a topic this genre is so fond of manipulating for profit.

Impressively, all of It Follows is working with a base. There’s Halloween, there’s Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street; they each act a narrative support. These make It Follows almost comfortable until the premise rips the on-screen safety (and normalcy) of their jumps scares and sharp objects away. Then, in a challenge to Babadook, injects its own emblematic strike to an underutilized (or ignored) social topic. This It is harrowing.

Movie ★★★★★ 

Staring into fear @ 42:57

While the film may be ensnared by the allure of ’80s horror, the budget necessitates the clarity of digital cinematography as opposed to film. It Follows is gorgeous, not only for the innovative camerawork, long takes, and oftentimes delirious style, but fidelity. Suburban Detroit and its forested outskirts are presented with immaculate definition. It is hard to remember a disc which displays trees down to individual leaves which such ease. Homes are visible brick-by-brick and grass down to blades.

Style tends to zap facial definition. Few close-ups are hits with regards to those high-frequency details. Instead, a slight haze and the rare but noticeable plastic-ness takes over. The latter is more definitive at distance. Still, there is a variety to see as the film switches itself up in terms of location frequently.

A natural chill permeates the color, leaving It Follows with a push of primaries backed by blue tinted hues. Rarely does any of this feel excessive or even digital. It Follows has enough color to impress or even hide the passes of color grading.

The final statement are flawless black levels, set in place and adding superb depth to every shot of this movie. Night falls and It Follows looks better than does in daylight. Density is incredible.

Video ★★★★☆ 

While It Follows has instances of glass breaking and door poundings coming from a multitude of directions – the sound field is not wasted – the stuff done with the score is marvelous. At one key late moment, the score begins to bounce between the surrounds to create a completely disorienting effect. This comes after the introduction pounded in the low-end to escalate the horror.

More traditional is the effect of ambiance, including a stream of crickets in the surrounds when outside or branches being pushed aside as characters walk through dense pathways. It’s a precise mix. A few action moments, from a blown out door to a car accident, nicely use the totality of the 5.1 space to keep sound work widely separated.

Audio ★★★★☆ 

While it would have been preferred to have writer/director David Robert Mitchell discuss his work and intent, the included six-way critic commentary offers a number of different reads, led by Scott Weinberg. A conversation with composer Rich Vreeland (Disasterpeace) is excellent too, followed by trailers and a gallery.

Extras ★★★☆☆ 

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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.