Sunday, March 22, 2015

"It Follows": elementary horror, but storytelling on several levels, in Detroit

It Follows”, directed by David Robert Mitchell, is a slick horror flick, and actually contains some good ideas.
First, it is practically a docudrama of the fallen Detroit, taking us from the moderate income residential areas that are still intact, out into the abandoned ruins of the formerly bloated city. Anthony Bourdain would be proud.
The technology in the film is odd.  There is a Kindle book reader, with WiFi, shaped like a clam.  But no one users cell phones or tablets or even PC’s.  The rest of the film looks set in the early 80s, and there may a good reason for that (although Detroit wasn’t quite as bad then – Tiger Stadium was still there).
The film is also a manipulative exercise in storytelling, about a shafe-shifting stalker. Maybe it’s out of the X-Files, or maybe from “The Thing”.  The premise is a little silly:  someone who is getting followed “passes the trash” by having sex, and the partner (either male or female) then gets stalked.  But if anyone gets killed, the stalker will work its way back up the chain.  This movie ratifies the neuter gender.  It wouldn’t work in a romance language.
Maika Monroe plays the beleaguered girl, Jay.  Her troubles start on a bizarre date with Hugh (Jake Weary).  When they go to see Alfred Hitchcock’s “Charade”, Jeff feels ill when he sees the stalker, and then sleeps with Jay.  He seems to kidnap her, until he “explains”.  We actually believe the scene.  The film might be viewed even as a metaphor for HIV. This is certainly a bizarre, almost cosmological idea of an “epidemic”.
The nice boy Paul (Keir Gilchrist), in the end, may be the only kid who can become a “man” (almost before our eyes) and not be infected.  It’s a bizarre concept. 
The official site is here  (Radius TWC). Film seems to be saving Michigan's economy. 

The music score, by Rich Vreeland, is often very effective in the atonal percussive passages. 
I saw the film late Sunday afternoon at Angelika Mosaic in Merrifield VA, before a large audience. 

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