Saturday 21 February 2015, by
Critics’ Week’s best film (in this writer’s opinion) has finally landed in the UK. I was surprised -and delighted- to find out a horror film was among the competition’s selection, despite its championing of genre cinema. And I have to admit, shamefully, that I did think chances were it would be a little too experimental and left-field to really provoke genuine scares and jumps and provide pure entertainment. But David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows is, in fact, bone-chillingly enjoyable.
At its Cannes screening, Mitchell said he had set out to make a "beautiful horror movie", and there can be no better description of the end result. It is a beautiful film to watch -with lingering, stylish shots of suburban Detroit- and all the elements, from the eerie score to the slow movements of the camera, are skilfully weaved together to create a continuous sense of dread and relentless tension, punctuated by occasional well-placed jolts. Unsurprisingly, Mitchell’s direction has been compared to John Carpenter’s work on Halloween.
Without revealing much in the way of plot, (the less you know the better, as it goes), Mitchell chose a simple and effective device: a shape-shifting, spectral, mysterious entity -the eponymous "It"- literally, slowly but determinedly following its prey: a WASPish promiscuous teenager. Indeed, this is a sexually transmitted curse, passed on from one suburban teen to another, in an infernal vicious circle, like the video in Ringu.
The film is released in the UK on 27 February.