Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It Follows [2014]

MPAA (R)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing

It Follows [2014] (written and directed by David Robert Mitchell) is an American award-winning low budget "indie" horror film making the rounds in the festival circuit.  It played recently at the 2014 (50th Annual) Chicago International Film Festival and is scheduled to be released to the general public sometime in 2015

The film is about a random, and by appearances generally "nice," 19-year-old suburban girl named Jay (played by Maika Monroe) who "finally" has her first sexual experience with a similarly seemingly nice / good-looking guy named Hugh (played by Jake Weary).  HOWEVER, as she waxes softly and sweetly in the back seat of Hugh's car, parked somewhere secluded by a river-bank or something, about the "wonderfulness" of what they/she had just experienced, she's shocked to find Hugh go to the trunk of his car, and then come after her with a roll of duck/electrical tape to tie her up and take her to another, very different, "secluded" location.

He takes her to a large mostly empty parking garage somewhere, ties her with the above mentioned duct tape to a wheelchair, a piece of her clothing shoved in her mouth so that she wouldn't scream, rolls her out into the middle of said parking garage and ... waits.  For what?

Eventually, a lumbering half dressed, half decayed zombie appears and starts lumbering up the on-ramp toward their floor, and indeed, toward HER.

This is when Hugh, quite desperate and quite emotionally ... explains.  He apologizes to her (tied and gagged, strapped to a wheelchair...), but says that there was nothing he could do (and actually that he's _still_ being something of a "nice guy" here).  He tells Jay, rag still in her mouth, that he's infected her with a sexually transmitted curse that attracts ... zombies.  And that the ONLY way (apparently) to get rid of said curse is to "pass it on" to someone else.  BUT ... if that next person gets killed / eaten by a zombie, those zombies will go back and come after her again.  (This is why, Hugh didn't just leave Jay to her own devices and instead tied her up and had her encounter said zombies in a "controlled location" ... in the middle of a half-empty, out-of-the-way parking garage with him present to explain what is going on....

As soon as she sees said zombie lumbering toward them, toward HER, and Hugh gets his chance to explain what is going on, he sets her free, and ... dutifully drives her home (perhaps, sort of like a "perfect gentleman" again ...).  It's clear though that HE NEEDS HER to know what's going on so that SHE can live long enough to transmit "the curse" to someone else (and hopefully explain TO THAT PERSON what he must do) so that the curse won't go back down to him/them again.

So... here's previously more-or-less "nice" Jay, who's had her first sexual experience at 19, with who she thought was "the perfect guy" and now she's got a sexually transmitted curse, and "the ONLY WAY" to get rid of it is to have sex with someone else, but then with someone smart, perhaps "streetwise" enough to find a way to transfer it to yet another person who'd again be smart/streetwise enough to transfer it again upwards, so that the Curse "never comes back."

So ... poor previously sweet Jay ends up sleeping (all off more-or-less screen) with as many as 6 guys during the course of the film -- (1) with dreamboat Hugh, who gave her the curse, (2) with a neighbor of hers, Greg (played by Daniel Zovatto), who's had a crush on her / and she's had a crush on him, who SEEMS smart enough to know what to do to avoid having the curse come back to her, BUT HE GETS KILLED BY THE ZOMBIES, (3-5) with as many as THREE random guys in a boat who she meets walking along a lake (but only one of got the curse, and he proved too stupid to live much longer after that) and (6) finally with a quite nerdy admirer of hers, Paul (played by Keir Gilchrist), who keeps volunteering to help her, but she keeps looking past him, until ... she runs out of guys.  This nerdy guy, Paul, is not altogether bright and probably would never be able to transfer the curse upwards, BUT ... TOGETHER ... they PERHAPS have a chance of defeating the Zombies.

This is obviously not the most morally uplifting film, of course.  But _somewhere_ in the film's "horrific" imagery is actually something of a moral message: Sex with "dreamboat Hugh" proved to be far more consequential/problematic than poor Jay ever imagined.  Then after going though a whole line of "cooler" guys who turned out to be "useless" anyway, she finally turns to the nerdy guy who's loved/worshiped her all along and TOGETHER (rather than "wham, bam ... good luck ...") they set out to deal with "the Zombies."  

In any case, it's probably the most original horror movie to come out in a while AND ... THERE'S NO (!) "lost footage" in this film.  Thankfully, we may be done with THAT horror-story telling device.

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