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You Will Never Not Understand ‘It Follows’ Like This Person Does Not Understand It

You Will Never Not Understand 'It Follows' Like This Person Does Not Understand It

Did you have trouble following “It Follows”? Fear not. There’s no way you had as much trouble figuring it out as the anonymous Portland, Oregon reader who wrote the Telegraph’s Tim Robey following his positive review.

To be fair, the author of 1,000-word-plus missive, (originally printed in full here), does seem to have paid careful attention to the film. (There are major spoilers included, so beware.) But he or she — and, having received numerous letter of this kind back in the days when people actually sent letters, we’re going to go way out on a limb and guess “he” — seems to have missed the point entirely. Why does Maika Monroe’s character wear high heels in a movie about a sexually transmitted haunting? Because subtext, silly.

Some of these questions are actually answered in the film, and a few — “What if the couple’s intimacy only consists of mutual masturbation, does that count? Or does there have to be physical penetration?” — indicate that the mystery writer may have thought about this whole thing a little too much.

Anyway, I’m delaying the main event. Read on, and be amazed.

I was alarmed to learn that you gave “It Follows” a positive review, and am concerned that perhaps you didn’t fully examine the film? It seems to me even a superficial examination reveals just how ludicrous the entire film is. It is, in fact, laughable from the very beginning. Why is the initial screen victim running out of her house in her underwear and red high heels? What teenage girl would be dressed like that in her home with her dad? Is this some kinky fantasy the writer/director wanted to put on film? Ask any young woman if — even when scared — she would attempt to drive wearing stiletto heels!

The entire premise of the movie — a creature that stalks you unless you have sex with someone — is ridiculous. How did this sequence of events get started? Where did the creature come from, and why would it be driven to kill the most recently infected person? In order to protect yourself from the creature you have to pay it forward (or “lay it forward” if you will). How did anyone ever figure this out? And why would that work? And supposing that the creature did work its way through killing all of those going back in the chain, then what? What would it do? What would happen to it? Hugh/ Jeff says there is “only one” of these creatures — how does he know? …

The creature can be covered by a sheet to reveal its shape to non-victims, and has to break into windows et cetera to gain physical entry to a locked residence. Clearly this is a physical being that happens to be invisible, not an incorporeal phantom. So why doesn’t Jay try running it over with the car rather than just driving away from it?

If the gunshot to the head didn’t stop it at the beach, why would they think electrocuting it would? And on that note, isn’t it irresponsible filmmaking to teach young people in the audience that they can survive throwing electrical objects into the water the way Jay does?

At the end of the film, Jay doesn’t want to say what form the creature has taken when it enters the pool room. We imagine something hideous. Then we shrug when it turns out to be just a bearded guy. Later we find out it’s her dad. I posit that it would have been more disturbing to know at the time that it was her dad.

On that note, how does the creature know what Jay’s dad looked like? Did it establish a telepathic link to her when Hugh/Jeff put his penis in her? Or is it really good at memorising portraits in the houses it enters, for future reference? …

On a more fundamental filmmaking level, the score by Disasterpiece comes across as intrusive and over-the-top. Worse, it has hokey motifs that jar with the alleged seriousness of some scenes. Furthermore, no attempt is made to give some of the characters names apart from in the credits, and even the protagonist (a woman oddly named Jay for some unexplained reason) isn’t called by name until almost halfway through the film.

And for a horror film, there are surprisingly few deaths. Apart from the mystery girl’s death that opens the film (we never find out how she related to the rest of the characters), the other main on-screen death is Greg, killed in his bedroom. Given that the creature walks toward the victim until it reaches them, how very convenient that it so seldom appears in the middle of the night while the victim is asleep! Where’s the “don’t fall asleep” warning à la invasion of the Body Snatchers and A Nightmare on Elm Street?

With so many lapses in both storytelling and filmmaking, one wonders why anyone could think highly of this sloppy and absurdly illogical film. The only way all of the above could possibly make any sense is for it to have been one of the characters’ nightmares. And of course “and they woke up and it was all a dream” is the lames of storytelling clichés.

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