**SPOILERS AHEAD** Asking directors to explain the motivations behind an ending that’s ambiguous or open to interpretation is kind of missing the point — they’ve left it that way precisely for that reason. So if you don’t want to know the ingredients in the secret sauce of “It Follows,” obviously, don’t read on. But if you have seen the film, and want to know a bit more about certain decisions made by writer/director David Robert Mitchell at the end of the movie, then stick around, because Vulture caught up with the filmmaker to ask him about specifics of the third act.
Kicking things off, the site inquires about the master plan concocted by Paul to try and rid Jay once and for all of the spectres that are following her. It’s an elaborate scheme that involves bringing a bunch of electronics to a swimming pool, hoping to lure it into the water, and then electrocuting it. Does that sound dumb? Well, Mitchell agrees.
“It’s the stupidest plan ever!,” he laughed. “It’s a kid-movie plan, it’s something that Scooby-Doo and the gang might think of, and that was sort of the point. What would you do if you were confronted by a monster and found yourself trapped within a nightmare? Ultimately, you have to resort to some way of fighting it that’s accessible to you in the physical world, and that’s not really going to cut it. We kind of avoid any kind of traditional setup for that sequence, because in more traditional horror films, there might be a clue that would lead them to figure out a way to destroy this monster. I intentionally avoided placing those. Instead, they do their best to accomplish something, and we witness its failure. It’s probably a very non-conventional way of approaching the third-act confrontation, but we thought it was a fun way to deal with it.”
Indeed, it is original and falls in line with much of what makes Mitchell’s film work — his understanding of how teenage minds think. One of the great tricks of the movie is that adults are mostly nowhere to be seen, or outside the frame, with the teens choosing, or forced, to be left to their own devices. It’s a movie whose most horrific element is given more weight by the story’s thematic concerns; about coming-of-age and the realization that youth doesn’t last forever. So when the final shot comes, and we see Jay and Paul walking hand-in-hand with a figure in the mid-distance behind them, Mitchell leaves it up in the air whether the haunting will continue, or if he’s simply underscoring the unspoken fears they have.
“We had a couple variations on it — I think we had some where he was really far back, and then some where no one would ever miss him — but we settled on the one where he’s there, but not too close,” he said, confirming that was always the final shot of the movie. “It allows people to make up their own mind of what it means.”
Thoughts? Hit the comments section. “It Follows” expands to 1,655 theaters on Friday, so be sure to check it out. Some new TV spots and clips below.