Feb 20, 2016

It Follows

At least in a general sense, I have totally given up on my very early childhood love of horror cinema to the point where I do not in any way pay attention to trends within the genre, though that does not mean that I refuse to check out the latest highly praised and critically acclaimed cinematic effort that the genre has to offer, especially if it is noted for being in anyway idiosyncratic and/or artistically merited as it is not often that such films come along in a place like the United States where cinematic art is considered a monetary serious liability. Indeed, naturally I eventually took the opportunity to watch Tomas Alfredson's Låt den rätte komma in (2008) aka Let the Right One In and Matt Reeves' somewhat pointless yet not all that bad English-language remake Let Me In (2010), Adam Wingard’s You’re Next (2012) and covertly slasher-conscious genre-bender The Guest (2014), and Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (2013), among various other less notable works, when I heard these films were worthy and somewhat original contributions to the  seemingly accursed genre, but none of these films quite impressed me as much as the quasi-arthouse-ish supernatural horror flick It Follows (2014) directed by virtual novice filmmaker David Robert Mitchell.  Directed by a young auteur whose first and only other feature The Myth of the American Sleepover (2010) was somewhat strangely a coming-of-age post-mumblecore dramedy about the Fremdscham-inducing awkwardness of youthful love and romance, Mitchell’s second feature has a number of obvious classic horror influences ranging from John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) to the various Invasion of the Body Snatchers flicks to Sidney J. Furie’s The Entity (1982) to Tobe Hooper's Colin Wilson adaptation Lifeforce (1985), yet it undoubtedly owns its borderline shocking pulchritude and economical filmmaking to influences that, not surprisingly, totally transcend the horror genre, with the (hyper)realist photography of Gregory Crewdson being arguably the most notable and influential. As rare piece of regional Midwestern horror cinema that oftentimes seems like what might happened if the young bastard brood of David Lynch and Debra Hill attempted to make a horror film for lapsed John Hughes fans, it should be no surprise that Mitchell had lead actress Maika Monroe, who notably just got done working on Wingard’s The Guest just before the film began production, watch Blue Velvet (1986) in preparation for her role as the lead heroine. A somewhat ambiguously allegorical cinematic tone poem of the sometimes ominous yet always otherworldly sort that offers viewers the quite rare and delightful opportunity to come up with their own various interpretations as to its true meaning, Mitchell's fine little flick tells the spectrophiliac tale of a beauteous young blonde college girl who finds herself contracting a sexually transmitted curse of sorts that involves her being incessantly followed by a slow but persistent and psychologically craven deadly shape-shifting evil spirit that can take the form of both strangers and loved ones and ultimately desires to kill its carnally accursed human prey by fucking them to death. Rather unfortunately, while an individual can rid themselves of the carnal curse by fucking someone else and passing it onto them, the sinister sensual spirit will come back to preying on them if the person that they passed it onto is killed by it. 

 Set in a somewhat serene and intentionally anachronistic Michigan suburb just outside of Detroit that seems to be ‘outside of time’ in the sense that, aside from a couple exceptions, no one uses cellphones, virtually all the movies referenced were made in between the 1950s and 1960s, and the characters wearing clothing that looks like it is mostly from the 1970s and 1900s, It Follows is oftentimes interpreted by viewers as a parable about HIV/AIDS and STDs in general, a critique of the effects of the so-called sexual revolution, and a symbolic depiction of a young woman’s less than ideal sexual rite of passage, yet auteur Mitchell has been somewhat dismissive of these various interpretations and has mentioned that the film was actually inspired by a real reoccurring nightmare that he had, or as the filmmaker stated in an interview with Digital Spy, “I had it when I was very young, the nightmare. I had it several times and I still remember images from it. I didn't use those images for the film, but the basic idea and the feeling I used. From what I understand, it's an anxiety dream. Whatever I was going through at that time, my parents divorced when I was around that age, so I imagine it was something to do with that.”  Of course, by Mitchell's own admittance, it seems that the film was at least partly inspired by the quite prominent post-counterculture social plague of divorce, which at least owes some of its popularity to family-negative influences like feminism, the welfare state, and the introduction of the pill and so-called sexual liberation.  For those that have been fully red-pilled and do not believe in the lies of Hebraic Hollywood and the innately anti-intellectual emotion-based joke that is mainstream cultural Marxist academia where extremely coddled and/or otherwise mentally defective so-called ‘minorities’ and white liberal bourgeois weaklings are taught how to be triggered by mere words and ideas, the film can easily be interpreted as an allegory for the death of the European-American middleclass as a result of the various corrosive leftist/cultural Marxist forces, including the counterculture movement, feminism/women's lib, and civil rights/multiculturalism, among various other intersecting post-Marcusian socially engineered metapolitical plagues that have had a decidedly necrotizing effect on the overall social, cultural, spiritual, and moral core of the nation's once great white majority. A film that depicts Detroit as a completely depopulated hellhole and virtually haunted metropolis that is full of eerily dilapidated houses that look like they would inhabited by the most menacing of both (sub)human and supernatural monsters, the film hints that, like most highly deleterious things that destroy suburban and rural areas like drugs and sexual degeneracy, the titular evil sexual spirit slithered out of the city. It should also be noted that the film goes out of its way to highlight the fact that the characters’ parents sheltered them from the city, thereupon underscoring the almost mystically ominous essence of the quite literally dystopian urban wasteland while, at the same time, making light of the fact that suburbanites have a keen naivety when it comes to the real-life horrors of the world and thus make for the perfect victims for a deadly demonic STD from both the literally and figuratively dark side of town. 

 Featuring a rather naive and less than dainty yet compulsively cute suburban debutante heroine that is trapped at a somewhat purgatorial crossroad between childhood and adulthood that becomes all the more apparent after she lets some handsome hunk penetrate her fairly fresh main vein and subsequently becomes the perennial prey of a sexually deadly specter, the film surely demonstrates that coitus is considered a sort of initiatory act of adulthood that many teenagers and young adults are just too emotionally immature to deal with, especially if you’re a dumb tom girl that, like the female protagonist, every boy and man wants to fuck. Featuring a subtlety deteriorating suburban realm where all the male characters are either weak and/or manipulative and where the only paternal figures come in the form of the evil specter taking on the appearance of the heroine’s father and grandfather, It Follows depicts an exceedingly emasculated society where the archetypical masculine male of American history has become nothing more than both a literal and figurative phantom that strikes great fear into the seemingly sexually conflicted female lead, who does not go by the quite unflattering male nickname ‘Jay’ for no reason. Indeed, if any contemporary horror film manages to simultaneously critique the decidedly deleterious effects that the sexual revolution, so-called women’s lib and feminism, and civil rights/multiculturalism have had on the white American middleclass and how white flight to the suburbs has only turned America’s pioneering majority into perturbingly passive sheep that could easily be led to the slaughter, it is indubitably It Follows, even if that was not exactly director Mitchell's conscious intention.  Featuring a female protagonist that initially has a sort of deluded, idealistic desire to find true love and romance, the film not coincidentally depicts a mindlessly wanton microcosm where the evil entity ultimately takes advantage of the fact that all sex is loveless and passionless and is usually based on some sort of craven lie or deception.  Indeed, as the film makes quite clear, it is rather unlikely that two lovers that have a mutual love and affection for one another could acquire the supernatural sickness.

 Of course, while all these oftentimes ambiguous and esoteric themes are quite intriguing and totally atypical of horror cinema in general, what really makes the film work is its overall absolutely outstanding aesthetic package, which features a hyperrealistic arthouse meticulousness comparable to Dutch auteur Alex van Warmerdam's socially scathing arthouse films like De Noorderlingen (1992) aka The Northerners and especially Borgman (2013), but also a sort of vague neo-retro vibe in the spirit of the more recent cinematic works of Nicolas Winding Refn, Adam Wingard, and Jim Mickle that is underscored by its original synthesizer-driven musical score by Disasterpeace (aka Richard Vreeland). Intentionally shot with wide-angle lenses that give the film an extra expansive Kubrickian feel that makes the viewer feel as if they are completely engulfed in an ever-growing suburban abyss and that ultimately greatly accentuates the film’s overall ominously yet beauteously oneiric essence (somewhat fittingly, lead Monroe has described Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) as her personal favorite film), It Follows is probably the best and most idiosyncratic suburban horror flick since the original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), though it is obvious that the auteur is an actual child of the suburbs who has an innate and highly intimate understanding of the social dynamic of the environment as opposed to a leftist philosophy professor turned pornographer turned filmmaker like Wes Craven who has a dubious fetish for inordinately strong teenage female protagonists.  In fact, instead of depicting teens and young adults as worthy rivals to the main monster, Mitchell's film completely breaks with outmoded genre conventions and depicts the would-be-heroes as the hopelessly stupid, naive, and foolish perennial children that they are. In short, there is no question after viewing It Follows that director Mitchell has a somewhat sentimental yet wholly critical view of the film's suburb setting (after all, he is a product of a Michigan suburb) and that he has not only a love of classic American horror movies but also a deep and obsessive respect for cinema as an art form to the point where he has sought to attempt to bring something fresh to both the genre and artistic medium. In other words, unlike the average horror director, Mitchell is not some hackish studio whore that vomits out celluloid products for the monetary benefit of some psychopathic Svengali-like studio head (though, to be fair, due to its unexpected popularity, the film was eventually purchased by The Weinstein Company's subsidiary, RADiUS-TWC, for North American distribution), but a real auteur with a distinct vision that all serious cinephiles should keep their eyes on in the future.

 Right from the get-go in the wonderfully erratic and preternaturally stylized opening scene, It Follows announces that it is not your typical haplessly hokey horror turd, but a carefully constructed piece of cinematic art that actually demands that the viewer have a sense of taste and use their brain. Indeed, the film opens with a very long single shot of a petrified young dame wearing nothing but a slip and high-heels named Annie (Bailey Spry) running out of her house as if being chased by something or someone, pretending everything is all nice and dandy when both a negress neighbor and her father ask her if she needs help, running back into her house to get her purse and car keys, and then jumping into her car and abruptly driving away in a frenzied fashion. Ultimately, Annie drives to a secluded beach during twilight where she crouches down on the sand at the edge of the sea and calls her father on her cellphone while in a discernibly petrified state and confesses to him in a manner that makes it seem like she is saying goodbye forever, “I love you […] I just wanted you and Mom to know how much I love you. Dad, I’m sorry I can be such a shit to you sometimes. I don’t know why I do that. Just know that I love you, OK? I just really love you both.” Considering her words to her father sound like those of a regretful individual that knows they are about to kick the bucket in some horrific way, it is no surprise that Annie is depicted as a lifeless corpse in the next scene. Undoubtedly, what is shocking about this scene is that something or someone has so brutally murdered and mangled Annie that one of her high-heel-adorned legs has been severely broken to the point where it is pointing in the opposite direction in what is ultimately a stunningly macabre early morning beach scene that almost manages to be morbidly erotic.  Indeed, Annie's corpse looks like a virtual surrealist statue, as if auteur Mitchell endured an Alain Robbe-Grillet movie marathon in preparation for this scene.  Thankfully, unlike many Robbe-Grillet films, the imagery in It Follows never overwhelms the film's narrative, as the two seem to perfectly compliment one another.

 After poor little Annie is liquidated by some unknown pernicious force that seems to enjoy killing people during the late night in secluded places, the viewer is introduced to cutesy blonde protagonist ‘Jay’ Height (Maika Monroe)—a seemingly overgrown tomboy who refuses to be called by her real female name Jamie despite the fact that she is on the verge of both adulthood and her sexual maturity, or so it initially seems—as she briefly cleans and then relaxes in her family’s cheap above-ground swimming pool. Considering comments made by her busybody adult female neighbors, it seems that Jay comes from a somewhat broken home as her father does not seem to be in the picture and her mother is rarely around (when the viewer is eventually introduced to the mother, we never get to clearly see her face), though the female protagonist has a fairly close relationships with her somewhat less attractive younger sister Kelly (Lili Sepe) and childhood neighbor friends.  Since Jay's neighborhood seems to be a place where absentee adults are the norm, it is only natural that she and her friends have such close bonds that they make up a virtual surrogate family that provides each other with emotional support.  Indeed, Jay is friends with an almost insufferably nerdy neighbor boy named Paul (Keir Gilchrist of James Wan's quite horrendous supernatural horror abortion Dead Silence (2007)) and a dorky eccentric four-eyed girl named Yara (Olivia Luccardi) that plays a childish joke on her friends by farting quite loudly white reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky's classic The Idiot (1869) on a seemingly futuristic clam-shaped compact e-reader. After her brief dip in the pool that involves gently drowning an ant that she finds crawling on her arm and playfully confronting some little boys that are playing peeping tom, Kelly briefly talks to her sister and friends and then prepares for a movie date with a young handsome fellow named Hugh (Jake Weary) that she seems to be quite infatuated with, even though she does not really seem to know much about him or his true character. While waiting in line to watch Charade (1963) starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn at a quite quaint antiquated movie theater (the scene was actually shot on location at a historic Japanese style theater in Detroit named Redford Theatre, which is notable for featuring a fully functioning Wurlitzer organ and being the place where Sam Raimi's classic The Evil Dead (1981) premiered), Jay proposes to Hugh that they play a rather juvenile game called “The Trade Game” where he must choose a person in the crowd that he would like to trade places with and then she gets the opportunity to guess who he picked.  Despite being a handsome young man that is about to penetrate fresh premium pussy of the barely legal sort, Hugh somewhat strangely reveals that he would like to trade places with a little toddler boy, arguing, “I mean how cool would that be to have your whole life ahead of you.”  Judging Hugh's somewhat emasculating confession, one assumes that he has either screwed up his life majorly and/or lacks the emotional maturity and self-discipline to fully embrace the fact that he is a grown-up man and should not be fantasizing about being at an age where he is a completely dependent urchin that can getaway with pissing himself and not feel embarrassed.  Naturally, things get somewhat bizarre between the young couple when Hugh insists that they leave the theater before the movie even starts after he spots a mysterious girl in a yellow shirt that Jay cannot see.  While Jay has the typical jealous female response and demands to know if Hugh saw an ex-girlfriend, the heroine has no idea that she will soon discover that her beau has some seriously sinister sexual baggage that would even scare a pussy-peddling and STD-ridden Detroit crack whore away.

 While Jay is noticeably baffled and concerned after being practically dragged out of the theater for seemingly no sensible reason at all by her seemingly bipolar boyfriend, that does not stop her from letting Hugh lacklusterly hump her in the backseat of his car the next night.  While Hugh proves to be a pump-and-dump prick who just wanted Jay for her precious young poke-hole, the torment and abuse only just begins after the great sexual deception is revealed.  Indeed, after the seemingly sapless sex concludes, Hugh gets out of his car and fiddles with junk in his truck while Jay lies in the back seat and gracefully plays with some weeds while softy confessing to her seemingly apathetic boyfriend, “It’s funny. I used to daydream about being old enough to go on dates…Driving around with friends in their cars. I had this image of myself, holding hands with a really cute guy, listening to the radio, driving along some pretty road…Up north maybe…And the trees start to change colors. It was never about going anywhere really…Just having some sort of freedom, I guess. Never old enough, where the hell do we go.” After Jay concludes her rather revealing little pseudo-poetic post-coital rant, she is in for quite the shock when Hugh abruptly grabs her from behind and knocks her out cold with a face full of chloroform. When Jay eventually wakes up, she finds herself inside a truly nightmarish ruined parking garage and tied to a wheelchair while wearing nothing but her quite childish little pink panties and matching bra. When Hugh notices that Jay has finally awakened, he absurdly attempts to explain to her that he has intentionally infected her with an evil sexually transmitted curse that involves an evil deadly entity following her until she gives the curse to someone else.  Indeed, as Hugh states to his petrified hapless victim while seemingly like he is on the verge of suffering a mental breakdown, “I’m sorry. I’m not going to hurt you. Don’t worry. You’re not going to believe me, but I need you to remember what I’m saying. This Thing. It’s going to follow you. Somebody gave it to me and I passed it to you…Back in the car. It can look like someone you know…Or it could be a stranger in a crowd. Whatever helps it to get close to you. It can look like anyone…But there is only one of it. And sometimes…Sometimes I think it looks like people you love just to hurt you.” After explaining to her how he has infected her with the most perniciously deadly of STDs, Hugh then pushes Jay to the edge of the building in the wheelchair where he reveals to her that a completely unclad middle-aged woman of the rather menacing looking sort is walking toward their general direction.  Needless to say, the wheelchair-bound heroine can only respond with abject hysteria while watching a completely speechless nude woman in a seemingly trance-like state walking towards her. As Hugh explains, he intentionally bound her to the wheelchair to prove to her that the evil entity is real so that she understands that she is in serious danger and that she should never go into a building with one exist lest she fall prey to death-by-supernatural-rape.  Of course, considering the specter will once again go after him if it kills her, Hugh has a vested interest in Jay's survival.

 Naturally, Kelly, Paul, and Yara are horrified when they witness Hugh dropping off Jay in the middle of the main street of their neighborhood in nothing but her underwear and then driving away, as it seems like the dubious hunk just brutally date raped and then tossed her out of his car like she was rancid garbage. Notably, before Jay is dropped off, Yara is depicted playing the Victorian card game Old Maid, which involves the players ridding themselves of the cards based on strange characters (the 1940s Whitman Publishing Co. set includes various racial caricatures, including a prostitute-like negress named ‘Agonizing Sue’ and a pimp-like negro named ‘Jazzbo Jackson’) and where the loser of the game is the one that retains the titular card. Of course, the Old Maid game somewhat parallels Jay’s new supernatural struggle, as the true ‘loser’ of the very real game that she has been plagued with is the one that is currently accursed with the evil entity and thus she must seek to spread it to someone else if she wants to abscond from the supramundane clutches of the lethally lecherous apparition. Unfortunately, even if Jay gives someone else the curse by deceptively coercing some guy into plunging his pork-sword into her warm and wet black hole, she will still be able to see the entity and she will probably be in danger for the rest of her life.  After all, if the entity kills the person that she gave the curse to, it will go after her again in what ultimately seems like a perpetual vicious circle of lethally lecherous vice.  Since the only insights that Jay has in regard to the specter are the handful of things Hugh told her during his little post-sex pep talk, the heroine has no idea if it has any serious weaknesses or if it can even be killed.  While the police are called and Jay is hospitalized after her truly nightmarish date, Hugh totally disappears and it is subsequently discovered that he was using a fake name and identity when he was dating the protagonist.  Indeed, in turns out that Hugh fabricated an elaborate bogus identity just so that he could start a phony relationship with some unwitting young dame and then infect her with the supernatural STD.

 As clearly indicated by a scene where she stands in front of a large bathroom mirror while wearing nothing but her underwear and then proceeds to open her panties and stare intensely at her pussy as if something is terribly wrong with it, Jay seems to feel quite dirty, corrupted, and sexually confessed as a result of her recent experiences as the victim of a desperately manipulative bug-spreader that she had genuine feelings for. Needless to say, things only get worse when Jay sees the entity in the form of an elderly woman while sitting in a college class and then proceeds to embarrass herself by running out of the room while an uppity negress professor yells at her (notably, the black teacher is depicted reading American-born British poet T.S. Eliot's poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” which naturally shares some themes and commonalities with the film). That night, Jay and Kelly reluctantly allow Paul to sleep over after the haunted heroine describes her horrific encounter with the senile specter.  As someone that has a borderline unhealthy infatuation with Jay to the point where he is fully willing to be her doormat, Paul dubiously uses the heroine's hysteria as a means to get close to her.  While Jay and Paul discuss how they were both each other’s first kiss while watching a cheesy black-and-white sci-fi movie on a TV that looks like it is at least 25 years old, the entity breaks a kitchen window in the house, thus immediately alarming the already quite startled protagonist. After Paul leaves the room to investigate, Jay slowly walks around downstairs and eventually discovers the entity in the form of a semi-topless girl with screwed up teeth that is wearing no shoes and only one sock.  On top of the fact that the entity looks the ghost of a sexual assault victim from the 1970s, the specter further petrifies Jay by pissing all over her floor.  While only speculation, it seems as if the specter has taken the form of a prostitute that was brutally raped and then left for dead.  At this point, Jay runs upstairs and locks herself in her room where she initially refuses to unlock the door when both Kelly and Paul knock and demand to be allowed inside. After she allows Paul and her sister inside, Jay tries to stop them from opening the door when subsequently Yara knocks. Somewhat predictably, when they open the door, both Yara and the entity enter the room, with the former naturally being completely unaware of the presence of the latter.  Considering that the specter has taken the form of an extremely tall and lanky young man that somewhat resembles a giant that died of starvation, Jay practically loses her mind as a result of what she sees. With nowhere to run or hide, Jay takes desperate measures and climbs out of her upstairs bedroom window, climbs down her house, gets on a bike, and then makes her way to a local playground, as if it makes her feel safe to revert back to childhood by riding on a swing. Unbeknownst to Jay, her neighbor friend Greg Hannigan (Daniel Zovatto)—a longhaired stoner type that seems like the sort of dude that likes to fuck chicks while high and listen to Led Zeppelin's “Stairway to Heaven”—witnesses her bizarre behavior while he is smoking a joint with a hot chick in his car and becomes considerably concerned, so he decides to ditch his date and go ask the protagonist if she needs help. 

 After teaming up with rather gregarious stoner Greg, Jay and her friends decide to visit the abandoned dilapidated Detroit house that the fellow-formerly-known-as-Hugh lived at to see if they can find anything there that might lead them to finding the manipulative STD-spreader. Upon entering the falling apart house, which looks like it used to be a rather fine piece of middlecass architecture (in fact, the house is an American Foursquare, which were quite popular in the U.S. from the mid-1890s to late-1930s), Jay and her friends find crushed up beer cans hanging from strings (which was obviously used to alert ersatz-Hugh of the entity’s presence), vintage pornographic magazines covered with semen-soaked tissues, and prescription bottles full of various dubious pills, among other things that give the impression that it's former occupant was a dipsomaniacal pill-popping horn-dog slob that epitomizes the average American frat-boy douche. Upon flipping through one of the porno mags like an inquisitive little boy that has just found his dad's secret stash, Paul discovers a photo inside featuring pseudo-Hugh wearing a high school varsity jacket. When Jay sees the pic, she realizes that her defiler is wearing a jacket from a local school named Lawson High, so the gang decides to head to the public educational institution where they ultimately learn that Hugh’s real name is Jeff Redmond after looking through an old yearbook. After learning his name, Jay and her friends soon find Jeff’s address and then proceed to pay him a surprise visit at his family home where the heroine and her friend's are warmly greeted by his hopelessly bourgeois mommy. While acting like a paranoid meth addict suffering from major drug withdrawal symptoms, Jeff reveals he is a man-whore of sorts by stating in regard to how he originally acquired the carnal curse, “I met a girl at a bar. It was a one night stand. I don’t even remember her name. I think that’s where it came from.” After attempting to coerce Jay to spread the curse to someone else by arguing to her and her friends, “She can do the same thing I did. I mean, it should be easy for her, she’s a girl. Any guy would be with you…Just sleep with someone else and tell him to do the same thing. Maybe it’ll never come back,” the rather startled ex-jock throws them out of his house.  While Greg gets slightly aggressive and basically tells him that he and his entity stories are pure bullshit before they leave, there is no question that Jeff is desperately afraid of something, hence why he would go so far as to do something as heinous as infecting a cute blonde with a spectral sexually transmitted curse of the decidedly deadly sort.  Of course, what makes Jeff a somewhat intriguing character in that the you cannot bring yourself to completely hate him despite knowing the dastardly things he has committed, as his all-consuming fear is very real and he at least attempted to somewhat prepare Jay for the curse, even if it was somewhat to his personal benefit to do so.  Also, somewhat interestingly, neither Jay nor any of her friends dare totake revenge against Jeff for what he has done, thus underscoring the innate impotency and pathetic passiveness of the modern middleclass.  After all, as the film reveals, both Paul and Greg have varying degrees of romantic feelings for Jay, yet neither of them have the testicular fortitude to avenge their precious golden-haired shield-maiden.

 Luckily, semi-suave and somewhat heroic lady’s man Greg, who is clearly attracted to the protagonist, offers Jay and her friends temporary sanctuary in his remote family lakehouse where he teaches the little lady to shoot a revolver by giving her target practice lessons. Despite being far from home, it is not long before the entity appears in the form of Yara and grabs Jay by the hair while she is sitting on the beach with her friends. When Paul is violently thrown a number of feet by the entity after attacking it with a beachchair upon seeing the inexplicable sight of an unseen evil spirit pulling Jay's hair, he becomes a true believer in predatory curse and realizes that his friend is not just delusional or mentally ill. After very narrowly escaping the entity’s grasp, Jay runs away and locks herself inside a boatshed with all of her friends except Greg, who does not witness the strange beach encounter and thus remains skeptical about the curse.  While Jay manages to shoot the entity in the head, the seemingly all-powerful specter is only momentarily stunned, thus hinting that it might be immortal and/or completely indestructible.  After briefly morphing into the lanky giant that previously invaded the heroine's bedroom and then smashing a window, the entity transforms into a pale rat-like little boy that resembles a rabid terminal cancer patient and then proceeds to enter the shed through the artificial entrance that it has created, so Jay flees the small building, steals Greg’s car, and then proceeds to crash said car in a cornfield while driving it in a hyper hysterical state, thus underscoring the heroine's innate incapacity to think or act rationally when attempting to battle her phantom foe. As a result of the crash, Jay breaks her arm and is left temporarily hospitalized, though thankfully the entity leaves her alone during her short hospital stay.  Quite fortunately, Greg, who, unlike her other friends, does not seem to really believe in the entity, agrees to risk contracting the curse by fucking Jaying in her hospital bed. While Jay likes Greg as a friend, she has a borderline melancholic expression on her face when he humps her in the hospital bed in what proves to be a less than sexy (un)lovemaking scene.

Somewhat curiously, Greg reveals to Jay three days after their rather underwhelming roll in the hay that he has yet to see the entity. Of course, as hinted in a brief scene where he is depicted shamelessly flirting with another girl at a table in a cafeteria, it is assumed that Greg has foolishly passed on the curse to some unwitting victim(s).  Naturally, as a firm non-believer in the entity, Greg does not think anything of it when his ostensible mother bangs on his door while he is asleep and then appears to him topless with her silicone breast implants hanging out of her robe, thus resulting in the inordinately stoic stoner being killed without even putting up a fight.  Indeed, when Greg answers too door and sees the entity in the form of his topless mother, her responds by telling, “What the fuck, Mom?” and thus is completely unprepared when the salacious specter more or less dives pussy-first onto his dick.  Somewhat provocatively, the celestial curse adds insult to injury by fucking Greg to death while in the form of his silicone-injected progenitor.  While Jay witnesses the entity in the form of Greg breaking into Greg’s house and attempts to warn him by unsuccessfully trying to call him and then subsequently running to his house, the heroine find herself completely helpless while witnessing the deadly supernatural rape.  After witnessing deadly pseudo-incestuous spectrophilia in the form of the entity riding on Greg’s cock, Jay is left completely horrified and emotionally exhausted, so she decides to drive to the lake where she ends up sleeping outside. When she wakes up the next day, she sees a couple young bros that she does not know in a boat in the water, so she curiously decides to swim to them.  As demonstrated by her almost deathly facial expression, it does not seem like Jay is simply looking to have some fun in the sun with the boat boys. Whether Jay has decided to spread the curse by the way of an aquatic threesome or foursome is questionable, but she is depicted crying while driving back home, thus hinting that she might be consumed with guilt as a result of having infecting the unwittingly fellows.  If Jay did indeed spread the curse to boat boys, they must have put up a poor fight against the entity, as it is not long before the specter begins hunting the heroine again.

 As is quite apparent throughout the film as reflected by the character's compulsively cuck-ish behavior and pathetic pouty facial expressions when the heroine shows other males attention, pussy Paul has a precious little crush on Jay, so naturally he eventually offers to fuck her under the dubious pretext of being passed the curse. Indeed, Paul has such an overwhelming thirst for his childhood friend's glorious stinkpot and is such a little pathetic groveling white knight ‘good guy’ pansy that he is willing to risk a very horrific spectrophiliac death just to bang Jay one single time. Of course, Jay initially turns down Paul's offers, thus causing him to whine with a virtual murmur, “I like you too, you know. Why did you pick Greg?,” to which she sadly replies in regard to her dead stoner pal, “I thought he’d be okay. He wasn’t scared.” Paul even meekly attempts to kiss Jay, but she simply turns her head away as if she offended that such a weak and nerdy bargain bin beta-boy would dare to try to take advantage of her glaring vulnerability with such a feeble and passionless attempt at a kiss. Ultimately, Jay and Paul concoct the childish plan to lure the entity to a large Detroit indoor swimming pool where they plan to electrocute the supranatural spirit by tossing a couple dozen electronic items into the water. While driving away from her house, Jay notices the entity in the form of her naked grandfather standing on the roof of her humble abode, though she neglects to tell her friends what she has just witnessed. Upon arriving in the city and walking down the somewhat foreboding street of Detroit, Yara remarks to Jay and her friends in a scene that underscores the film’s somewhat cryptic theme of the tragedy of white flight, “When I was a little girl, my parents wouldn’t let me go south of 8 Mile. And I didn’t even know what that meant until I got a little older and I started realizing that, that’s where the city started and the suburb ended. And I used to think about how shitty and weird that was. I mean, I had to ask permission to go to the state fair with my best friend and her parents, only because it was a few blocks past the border.” Jay replies to Yara by simply stating, “My mom said the same thing,” thus highlighting the ominous reputation of the city, especially among the white middleclass, which has seemed to have developed an almost mystical view of the great evil that engulf the hopelessly forsaken shitty post-Europid city. As soon as the protagonists climb a fence that is around the pool building, the film morphs into a sort of revisionist ‘old dark house’ flick. Indeed, aside from the fact that the building resembles a sort of visually oppressive decaying gothic mansion-cum-castle that one might expect to find in a secluded rural region of England, it turns into night and begins raining and storming outside not long after the protagonists enter the increasingly sinister structure. 

 After plugging vintage lamps, typewriters, TVs, alarm clocks, and various other aesthetically displeasing electronic devices into the outlets in the main room of the indoor pool, Jay gets inside the water and waits for the specter while her similarly petrified friends wait for her signal to plunge the objects into Chlorine-laced aqua. Although Jay never says it explicitly, the entity eventually appears in the form of her father. In fact, Jay is so horrified by this fact that she refuses to tell her sister Kelly that evil spirit has taken the form of their mutual progenitor. After lurking in the entrance hallway of the pool for a couple moments, the entity eventually emerges and begins picking up and throwing the electronic devices at Jay, thus scaring her and her friends that she might be electrocuted.  Notably, the uncanny supernatural creature, which is sporting a white wife-beater like some stereotypically abusive guido father, acts in a somewhat atypical fashion in its seemingly consciously emotionally manipulative expressions of violence, as if the entity knows that Jay's father is a violent alcoholic deadbeat and is trying its best to terrorize her by pantomiming her padre's abusive behavior.  While Jay attempts to point out where the entity is, Paul tries in vain to shoot the completely invisible target and accidentally hits Yara in the process in what ultimately proves to be ample evidence that the young friends did not put too much thought or preparation into their half-baked plan. When Kelly manages to expose exactly where the specter is standing by tossing a blanket over its head, Paul is finally able to see where it is and then proceeds to put a bullet in its brain, thus causing it to collapse and fall into the pool. Seemingly immune to bullets, it is not long before the entity grabs Jay’s leg and begins drowning her while lurking at the bottom of the pool. Luckily, Paul’s shooting prowess gets somewhat better and he somehow manages to put a bullet in the brain of the invisible entity while it is underwater, thus enabling Jay to escape from specter's grip. After she finally emerges from the pool, Jay is startled to find a strange blister-like wound around her leg/ankle area where the entity had grabbed her. When Paul asks her to look in the water to see if they entity is dead, Jay slowly crawls to the edge of the pool and, to her great horror, discovers that the water is being consumed by a growing cloud of murky blood.  Of course, considering the striking ambiguity of this uniquely unsettling scenario, the viewer is left guessing as to whether or not the creature perished in the pool.

 As a sort of award for his borderline heroic efforts (indeed, the viewer senses that she feels obligated to let him have a little taste of her accursed spasm chasm), Jay fucks Paul when they get home that night in what ultimately proves rather lackluster sex between two individuals that have seemingly nil sexual compatibility.  Indeed, after their particularly prosaic carnal session, Paul meekly asks Jay, “Do you feel any different?” and she nods no. Seemingly greatly disappointed after finally achieving the seemingly inconceivable by fucking the girl of his dreams, Paul also admits he does not feel any different. The next day, Paul drives by two fat and radically repulsive ghetto skank prostitutes that give off the impression that they are mutant survivors of a nuclear apocalypse. While one of the streetwalkers smirks at Paul when he looks at her, it is never revealed as to whether or not he decided to use her and/or the other girl's sensual services. Of course, patronizing a prostitute would be a great way to get rid of the curse as it could possibly be spread among countless victims in a very short time. Notably, in the penultimate scene of the film, Paul and Jay visit Yara in the hospital where she reads aloud the following line from Dostoyevsky's The Idiot: “But here I should imagine the most terrible part of the whole punishment is, not the bodily pain at all—but the certain knowledge that in an hour—then in ten minutes, then in half a minute, then now—this very instant—your soul must quit your body and that you will no longer be a man—and that this is certain, certain! That’s the point—the certainty of it.

Considering their recent experiences, one would hope that Jay and her friends now have some understanding of the meaning of Dostoyevsky's words and have accepted that they will one day disappear from this world.  In the very last scene, Paul and Jay are depicted holding hands while walking down a sidewalk in their neighborhood in an exceedingly awkward fashion, as if they are trying in vain to resemble a romantic couple.  Unbeknownst to the terribly mismatched (un)love birds, they are being followed by someone that may or may not be the entity in a young male form.  Additionally, this final scene features many allusions to death, as it is set during the Halloween season as demonstrated by the fact that various pumpkins and fake cobwebs can be seen around the neighborhood, not to mention the fact that a ‘Dead End’ sign can be seen both in front of and to the right of Jay and Paul (in fact, the former's arm cast is even inscribed with the words, “Here lie the bones of Jay”).  As hinted by the fact that they both have sullen expressions of their faces and neither of them look at or talk to one another during the entire scene, it seems like their relationship will not last long, but such is the common fate when a girl stupidly begins a relationship under quite questionable circumstances with a eternally groveling ‘good guy’ type who would probably glady devour her turds if he asked her to.  Arguably not coincidentally, like all of the curse-spreading coitus sessions in the film, Jay and Paul's extra awkward game of sexual intercourse was not that natural consequence of mutual love and affection but instead the result of a somewhat emotionally abusive deception that will probably eventually lead to an unpleasant outcome for both involved.  Indeed, at its most rudimentary level, It Follows certainly reveals that cheap loveless sex always has negative consequences, especially when you are young and dumb and thus unprepared for the full impact of said consequences.

 One of the reasons I absolutely hate horror movies that are set in the suburbs so much is that they tend to have a glaring innate artificiality about them that many people seem to mistake as some sort of sophisticated social critique, yet It Follows manages to do the opposite by taking an almost shockingly naturalistic approach to subtlety, eloquently, and sometimes symbolically hinting at many of the very real problems that consume white suburbia, including the dissolution of the nuclear family, the rise of soulless recreational sex and its consequences (i.e. pregnancy/abortion, mental illness, STDs, etc), suicide, self-mutilation, drug addiction, the inversion of genders, and sexual schizophrenia, among various other things that Hollywood would never dare to tackle in any sort of serious and honest fashion, but one should not expect anything else from an anti-Europid industry that is largely dominated by wealthy culture-distorting Hebrews who spent many decades actively promoting the socially corrosive vices that led to these things. Indeed, the film oftentimes feels like it could be directed by one of the actual members of the community it depicts, albeit one with a keenly critical yet empathetic eye. Indeed, instead of containing a quasi-feminist (meta)political agenda and absurdly portraying the lead as some sort of all-competent-ingénue like Nancy Thompson in Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and Sidney Prescott in Scream (1996), the lead in Mitchell's film is a typical moronic young woman and she and her friends ultimately hatch the most naively childish Scooby-Doo-esque plan imaginable when they attempt to exterminate the entity at the pool despite having no idea if it has weakness or if it can even be destroyed. Additionally, it is no shock that alpha-wuss Paul accidentally shoots one of his friends when attempting to shoot the specter, as such a scenario is very likely when a pansy nerd with poor motor skills and next to nil gun training attempts to shoot at an invisible target in a closed off room. While the film concludes in refreshing ambiguity, I think it is safe to assume that the silly young heroes failed to liquidate the entity and that their days are numbered. Notably, although he apparently liked the film, Quentin Tarantino singled out It Follows for criticism, stating, “It’s one of those movies that’s so good you get mad at it for not being great,” to which Mitchell later fittingly retorted on twitter, “Hey QT, why don't we get together over a beer and talk about these notes. I have a few of my own for you.” Apparently, Tarantino—an autist that seems to be immune to organic cinematic art and lives for playing with obscenely outmoded genre conventions, sort of like a little deranged kid that gets a sick kick out of burning ants—found the film’s mythology to be too inconsistent, but clearly he missed the point, as the flick goes out of its way to never construct a clearly defined mythology, hence why the heroes came up with the seemingly random and elaborately impotent and nonsensical plan to kill the entity by electrocuting it in the pool as they, quite unlike the protagonists of similar genre films, have no ancient occult book, all-wise guru, or sagely nun to learn from in regard to how to destroy the monster.  Indeed, not ulike Tarantino, it seems these kids' unintentionally borderline Dada-esque plans were the natural result of watching too many stupid horror and sci-fi films.

 While sex is nowadays considered more or less as sacred as taking a shit or popping a zit, modern-day generations forget that carnal pleasures used to be a matter of literal life or death for many people as a result of complications during birth and incurable STDs, among other things, not to mention the fact that many individuals believed that they risked eternal hellfire when daring to engage in sinful fornication. Undoubtedly, one of the many reasons that It Follows is so intriguing is that it brings back a certain amount of thrilling danger to sex and is a sort of atavistic remainder of both the spiritual and biological risks of carnal pleasures. Set in a world where the only fathers are weak (e.g. Nicole’s bourgeois pussy dad) or violently murderous phantoms (e.g. Jay’s father) and the only other adults are zombie-like busybody philstines (Jay and Greg’s mothers) or phony affirmative action-based negro authority figures that no one respects (e.g. Jay’s professor and the police detective), and all the young heroes are hopelessly naïve man-children and woman-children that surely lack the intellectual, spiritual, moral, and philosophical discipline and rigor to one day lead their communities, It Follows ultimately paints a perturbing portrait of the horribly coddled white middlelclass that makes it seem like it is facing a very immediate extinction.  Of course, another rather effective ingredient of the film is its intentional use of anachronistic clothing and technology, as it can be seen as symbolizing the increasing monetary and cultural impoverishment of the modern-day middleclass, which no longer enjoys the great prosperity that previous generations did, especially the baby-boomers who, as an arguable result of being the most spoiled and thus weak and deracinated generation in all of human history, are ultimately responsible for the decidedly deleterious social changes that have led to the progressive deterioration of their very own people and culture.  Indeed, the characters in the film not only use their parents beat-up old cars and archaic furniture, but have also been handed down the emotional, economic, cultural, and spiritual impoverishment that their parents created.  After all, the popularity of partly mummified kosher commie presidential candidate like Bernie Sanders is largely the result of the surplus of college graduates in their 20s and 30s who still live with their parents and who will probably be spending the rest of their lives attempting to pay off students loans while working unskilled service jobs at left-wing oriented companies like Starbucks and Panera Bread.

With their parents and grandparents abandoning Detroit—a city that their ancestors built—so that tribes of negress could destroy it in more than two generations, only to weaken their race in the process by living in the totally safe and artificial world of the suburbs, these young adults lack even the maturity to safely and responsibly engage in the most basic and primitive adult biological act of sexual intercourse, so it is only wholly fitting that the titular monster of It Follows is a sexually transmitted and requires that the transmitter to commit sexual abuse and non-consensual sex to rid themselves of it. Contemporary Westerns now seem to believe that the sole function of sex is pleasure to the point where it has totally lost any sacred or spiritual essence it once had, hence the rapid decline of white birth rates and the glorification of abortion as a patently pathetic symbol of petty you-go-girl female (pseudo)empowerment, as if paying some Judaic doctor a bunch of shekels to have the child that is growing in your body vacuumed out of your vagina is a glorious and honorable thing that should be commended as an act of great strength and personal sovereignty (in fact, a bunch of dumb feminist bitches recently started a social media campaign entitled ‘Shout Your Abortion’ where tens of thousands of dumb cunts gloated over the internet about committing softcore legal maternal filicide). Undoubtedly, when you have a generation of people that unconsciously worships at the altar of Puer aeternus, kill its own children out of laziness and/or narcissism/self-absorption, passively allows its cities and neighborhoods to be colonized by barbarian minorities that are absurdly subsidized with mostly white middleclass tax money, and have never thought about the future existence of their people or culture, you have a nightmarish situation where sexuality is arguably the most fundamentally and symbolically dysfunctional element of the equation.  Indeed, the real ‘IT’ that follows the protagonists of Mitchell's film is about have a century of self-inflicted dysfunction and decadence that was either sired or passively accepted by the characters' parents and grandparents.

 While I have mostly given up on horror cinema in general, It Follows and the rare European quasi-arthouse film like kraut homo auteur Till Kleinert’s Der Samurai (2014) have given me some slight hope that there are still inventive horror auteurs out there that understand nuance, allegory, and archetypes and want to make timeless yet modern cinematic works that tackle the truly horrific aspects of contemporary society as opposed to simply portraying redundant one-dimensional monsters in cheap costumes that have no deeper meaning and instead simply epitomize the redundancy and lack of originality that plagues the genre.  In that sense, Mitchell's film has more in common with the great cinematic works of German Expression than contemporary supernatural horror films, as an arcanely allegorical flick that bleeds the fears and weaknesses of the collective unconscious of white America.  Somewhat curiously considering he does not see himself as any sort of horror filmmaker, Mitchell is already talking about possibly doing a sequel, which I somewhat hope is never happens so that the original film remains just as enigmatic and does not suffer the sorry fate of being franchised to death like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scanners, among various other examples. Indeed, the less we know about the eponymous ST(S)pecter of the film the better, as It Follows is an innately oneiric film with a foreboding dream logic that would be shattered if there was attempt to uncover the intricacies of the film’s refreshingly vague and ambiguous mythology.  Indeed, Mitchell's sometimes reminded me of Andrei Tarkovsky's The Mirror (1975) in terms of its richly ethereal and narcotizing atmosphere, absolutely unforgettable dream-like visuals, and sometimes seemingly stream-of-consciousness approach to both the imagery and dialogue.  Of course, Mitchell does not attempt to be as philosophically or metaphysically deep as Tarkovsky, but instead uses his own organic Michigan suburban sensibility to tell a highly personalized socio-cultural story in a sort of covertly artful and refreshingly unpretentious fashion that demonstrates that he wants to appeal to a large audience while staying true to his evolution as an artist.

In terms of its disturbing depiction of a painful youthful sexual awakening and hauntingly symbolic use of an indoor swimming pool that seems to represent adulthood (indeed, heroine Jay finds solace in her small personal above-ground pool, which can be seen as representing her childhood, but finds herself in horrifying experience in the large Detroit indoor pool, which could be seen as symbolizing adulthood), Mitchell's film also deserves seemingly unlikely comparisons with Jerzy Skolimowski's rather underrated feature Deep End (1970).  Despite being a horror film that is certainly highly conscious of certain conventions of the genre, It Follows is indubitably a more artistically and emotionally mature cinematic work than Mitchell's previous feature The Myth of the American Sleepover.  As his hopelessly gaudy and spasmodic genre-philiac films obnoxiously reveal in their unabashed negrophiliac outbursts, gratuitous displays of soulless violence (yet curiously lack of sexual intimacy aside from the occasional foot fetish scene), and complete and utter lack of morality and spirituality, Cuckantino—a completely racially and culturally deracinated pothead who grew up with a single mother who, not surprisingly, exposed her young son to negro boyfriends—is just too materialistic and emotionally immature to be able to fully embrace a film like Mitchell’s where everything is not wrapped up in a neat little package that can be fully digested by his autistic fanboy brain.  Also, one cannot forget that, despite its mostly semi-cryptic references to classic horror films, It Follows never basks in the sort of too-cool-for-school pomo posturing that typically wets the panties of autistic fan-boys who seem to see cinema as sort of form of cheap neo-vaudevillian entertainment as opposed to a genuine artistic medium.

As director Mitchell stated himself, “I'm not personally that interested in where ‘it’ comes from. To me, it's dream logic in the sense that they're in a nightmare, and when you're in a nightmare there's no solving the nightmare. Even if you try to solve it.” Personally, I believe Mitchell is being honest in what he says and, despite his dubious support of a big fat mainstream white liberal slob like Michael Moore, I sense that he has a visceral feeling that he cannot fully articulate that there is something not quite right in America and that his instant-classic horror film is unconscious expression of a young and thoughtful white man who, due to a lifetime’s worth of brainwashing via the cunning kosher culture-distorters of Hollywood, cannot figure out why the nuclear family has been nuked and his previously quite beautiful hometown has degenerated into a third world dump that looks like it was firebombed.  Of course, Mitchell understands that rows upon rows of condemned Detroit houses are infinitely more disturbing and horrifying on the emotional level than some elaborately constructed haunted house on a Hollywood studio set.  In terms of sheer atmosphere and commitment to depicting the nuances of modern suburbia and its discontents, Mitchell's sole cinematic excursion in horror seems like a Michelangelo Antonioni flick when compared to so-called classics like The Amityville Horror (1979) and Peter Medak's The Changeling (1980).  Indeed, probably the only film that seems to manage to reconcile the cinematic works of Antonioni, Lynch, and John Hughes, It Follows feels like the semi-unconscious reaction of a cerebral cineaste that senses that his beloved community and, in turn, country is on the brink of a racial and cultural apocalypse.  Additionally, I could not help but think after watching Mitchell's film that old school horror classics ranging from the Universal Monsters movies of the 1920s through 1950s to classic slasher flicks like Carpenter's Halloween seem like frivolous bullshit when compared to the stranger-than-fiction horrors of real-life. Of course, Mitchell’s film also unwittingly demonstrates that the borderline infantile romances and tedious teen angst depicted in Hughes’ films were just early signs of a degenerated generation of sexually, emotionally, and psychologically immature individuals who were artificially manufactured by the suburbs.

As the great prophetic Teutonic philosopher Oswald Spengler once stated in regard to the tragedy of urbanization, “Long, long ago the country bore the country-town and nourished it with her best blood. Now the giant city sucks the country dry, insatiably and incessantly demanding and devouring fresh streams of men, till it wearies and dies in the midst of an almost uninhabited waste of country.”  Of course, there has been a major paradigm shift in the Occident that not even Spengler could foresee.  Indeed, with the cities in ruins and colonized by barbarians and its former white inhabitants succumbing to decadence and emasculation as a result of fleeing the places they built and relocating to the sterile and somewhat unnatural realm of suburbia where the best blood is sapped of its vitality and left virtually devoid of the capacity to create great art and culture.  Indeed, as the characters of It Follows clearly demonstrate via their hysterical behavior and patently preposterous (non)solutions to serious problems, most suburban folks have no chance of surviving a societal collapse, especially those unfortunate individuals that live just outside the double dark shitty city of Detroit where the real STD-carrying monsters and mutants dwell.  After all, as Spengler wrote in the opening passage of his swansong The Hour of Decision (1934), “Is there today a man among the White races who has eyes to see what is going on around him on the face of the globe? To see the immensity of the danger which looms over this mass of peoples?”  While Mitchell seems to instinctively sense this threat as hinted in his film's unflattering depiction of young suburbanites and occasional scene of a naughty negro lurking outside a dilapidated Detroit house, he, like so many white Americans, still lacks the courage and psychological prowess to look at what is right in front of his face, hence the authentically foreboding tone of It Follows where the presence of fear and paranoia is unquestionable but its exact source never fully explained. While Mitchell will unfortunately probably not make a film in the spirit of Rudyard Kipling's classic poem “The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon” anytime soon, his use of T.S. Eliot is a good start and his first horror feature makes it perfectly clear that he is a young auteur to look out for.

-Ty E

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