It Follows (Old Horror Tropes)

It Follows


Tea: Rooibos Mango


The night of horror is already looming on the horizon. The month is almost through but I still have some candy for you. With modern horror movies often taking a jump scare based approach, it is exciting to see a film taking cues from classics. It Follows owes a lot to the likes of Carpenter and other masters of the genre. The movie got quite a bit of positive press after its release, but since this is no indication of quality in any way, let’s take a little peek and decide whether we want to follow this movie, or if we can escape bad horror no matter how hard we try.

The story behind It Follows is as simple as it is obscure. A non-specific entity is passed on to a girl after a one night stand. The boy hastily explains that this thing will follow her. It will not run, just calmly walk in her direction. Once she has been killed it will go after him and so on until the first person to ever be followed is dead. The only way to prolong your time is by passing it on to another person. From here it becomes a highly riveting game of escape as the main character tries to escape it at every occasion. She may travel far distances but inevitably it will always show up, only visible to her with a drive to kill her unmatched by many.


– You may argue that there are worse things than a face-changing entity hell-bent on killing you she could have taken away from a one-night stand. –

I will say this, I quite enjoyed the movie as a whole. It may come across as juvenile at first with its blatant teenage sex metaphor and the generally unappealing main cast, but there is a lot to be made out of this. The group of friends around the main character all seem empty and somewhat depressed. Other horror movies usually include light hearted moments to paint a stark image of contrast between horror and fun, but It Follows never truly has a light atmosphere. Days are always overcast, scenes take place during dusk or night, and the main character never really seems to smile. The tone is a lot darker than one would expect from such a one-idea-movie. And I don’t label this movie as such with any bad intent, in fact it is a relief to see movies pick this approach as opposed to cramming unnecessary elements into their stories. The plot concerns one girl and her life with the prospect of being killed by a following face-changing entity which could end her life any moment and will not grant her one moment of rest. It is basically the best part of Halloween, being stalked by an unknown entity with no release of tension.


– White seems to be a dominant colour regarding It, I wonder why…-

Let’s talk actors: They’re okay, nothing more needs to be said. Let’s talk soundtrack: Here we go, this is far more outstanding. The sync pop feeling of the entire score is amazing and if you like John Carpenters music you will feel right at home with this one. It is dark and melodic and almost breaking at some points with cracking sounds giving the impression of low quality speakers, truly cementing this old horror feeling. Just listen to the title theme right here and find out what I mean by it, you will not be disappointed. The ambient score of the film is excellent and only further develops this dark tone I was talking about earlier. Every scene becomes heavy with atmosphere and the impending appearance of the creature.

One aspect I absolutely love is the fact that It can be found in a lot of scenes without any of the characters noticing or it even being relevant. Oftentimes it is determinedly walking in the background just out of sight. You will probably try to spot it whenever you can, just like I did, and thus the most genius part becomes apparent. Without any effort the movie has transported us into a similar situation. You search for it but can never be certain, after all, people are walking around all the time. This uncertainty woven into the movie, the scenes, the music etc. is one of the strongest aspects of the movie. Just like most horror movies, uncertainty is the key to success. Be it in the form of backstory, atmosphere, or general tone. However, the movie cannot help itself at one point and has to sneak in two jump scares, which is truly sad. Another however, there is also one of the best scares which is not made annoying by loud music and sudden close ups which deserves praise. So let’s call it even on the use of scary imagery.


– Do what she should be doing: paying attention to the surroundings. –

While I would love the praise all parts of the movie, I simply cannot. This has mostly to do with the creature itself and the rules around it. Not that I dislike the lack of knowledge, it is the knowledge characters have and the actions they take which bother me. It is established about half-way through that the creature seemingly cannot be killed, which would be a logical conclusion seeing as someone in America would have already shot it way before the movie could even take place. Yet, their final solution to the problem is an elaborate way of killing it. I could not comprehend this reasoning. The only explanation I can find is that the main character, remember only she can see it, did not tell them about the failed attempt to shot it. Why would she? I don’t know. Why would they try something that has clearly no point? Ditto. It simply feels like a forced action to have a meaningful climax. There is also one scene where the characters are backing out of a driveway and It is standing on the roof. I cannot explain this either as I do not see a point in doing this. It is said early on that It is slow, but not stupid. At this point, I questioned that assumption.


– Never make out in a car when a giant skull-shaped cloud is hovering over it.-

All of this taken into account, I would still recommend It Follows for a one-time watch. There isn’t much like this out there right now and it is definitely a trip worth undertaking. The few flaws may bother you, but the overall experience is a solid one. The soundtrack can alleviate all the pain the occasional bad acting may cause. It may not seem like it, but this is a movie you will want to talk about afterwards, I am not only referring to the ending. If you pay close attention, you can work out a lot more than just a blatant teenage sex interpretation. For your first watch I am giving you a hint: red. See what you can gather from this. That being said, I would recommend It Follows not as the revival of old school horror as some claim it, but as a solid horror experience.



Image sources in order of appearance:


4 thoughts on “It Follows (Old Horror Tropes)

  1. Great analysis: “You search for it but can never be certain, after all, people are walking around all the time. This uncertainty… is one of the strongest aspects of the movie.”

    According to one site, white is associated with “innocence, purity, and virginity.” I believe the monster wears white because it is punishing people who are engaging in casual and premarital sex.

    Jay had gone on a date with Hugh before, so it wouldn’t be a “one night stand” would it? They are on a date when they have sex in his car. Hugh, however, says he got it from a “one night stand.” He didn’t even know the girl’s name.

    I wrote a short essay (550 words) on It Follows called “The Dangers of Casual Sex.” If you would like to read it, I am open to any feedback:


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