A young, scantily-clad girl runs out of her suburban home into the street. She’s terrified and panicking, desperately trying to escape from some unseen menace. It’s a scenario familiar to anyone with a passing knowledge of the horror genre. But the framing, the elegant camera moves, and the chilly sense of distance immediately set It Follows apart from it its predecessors.
It’s the rare film that plays by all the rules of a ‘slasher’, even pays explicit homage to them (most notably John Carpenter’s original Halloween), but always feels like its own unique beast. It’s (intentionally) derivative, yet fearlessly innovative at the same time.
The conceit is one of those ideas so simple yet clever you’re surprised no one else has thought of it yet: a malevolent force that operates like an STD. Sex in horror movies almost always leads to a painful demise; It Follows makes that idea explicit.
Once infected you will see ‘It’. It will be a person, walking towards you, and no one else will see it unless they have slept with a carrier. Once the characters are aware of this, everyone on the street becomes a potential killer, and as they grow increasingly paranoid you too find yourself searching the frame for any sign of trouble.
An icy synth score is the perfect complement to this slice of suburban dread, a hypnotic, utterly terrifying film that earns its place on the list of classic horrors by honouring what came before while staking out bold new ground.