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Movie Review

'It Follows' Is Effectively Creepy

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It Follows is a pretty effective horror movie that may be too mysterious for its own good.

Whatever the menace is presents itself in too many ways for us to know what we're in anticipation of. Sometimes it's solid enough to be covered by a sheet, and at least partly susceptible to gunshots, and can even bash in a wooden door, but other times it's so insubstantial that only our heroine can see it. It seems to transform men into monsters, at least temporarily, but has no psychological effect on women except understandable fright, which we largely share ourselves. Whether it can inflict physical damage on people is inconsistent-- It Follows depends for its shudders on suggestion, not violence.

And what the menace is trying to accomplish is quite properly never clear. Its first victim says it cannot be defeated but only passed on, which, along with some other things, suggests a parody of venereal disease, but that interpretation doesn't hold up as the movie goes along. Where the characters' theory of what might kill it comes from was certainly never clear to me, but like a lot of these matters, it worked dramatically just the same.

In fact, while not as effective as the much simpler movies Paranormal Activity or The Babadook, It Follows is quite effective at making our flesh creep with suggestions of strange activities in the background, where auxiliary figures seem always to be slowly approaching us for undetectable reasons, sometimes vanishing and sometimes getting too close for comfort. The young people-- and there are almost no older ones-- behave intelligently and heroically, except for their refusal to ask for help, and the acting is consistently good.