THE REEL BINGE with Lee Ostler: IT FOLLOWS (2014)

Director: David Robert Mitchell

I watched this one a few months back, but given that it’s Halloween this month, I’ve decided (with a gentle nudge from our fearless leader, FATS) to trudge out and re-watch some of my favorites of the genre. I’ve always had something of a fractured relationship with the Horror genre. As a self-respecting cine-file, I It-Follows-posterfeel compelled to watch the good ones I hear about. The problem is that the “good” ones scare the bejezzus out of me (I’m talking nightlights for a week). On the opposite side, the not-so-good to downright bad ones carry no weight or interest with me at all. I’ll watch a shitty Rom-Com over even a so-so Horror film every time. You can see my conundrum. Anyway, I’ve got a tough month ahead of me. Thanks FATS.
“It Follows”(2015) is definitely the new critical darling of low budget Horror, and for good reason. The buzz started off slowly and quickly gained momentum. Director, David Robert Mitchell kinda came out of nowhere with this gem. His previous film, “The Myth of the American Sleepover” (2010) was a suburban, teenage, coming-of-age story. A very good, but very different film by the way. Scored by electronic musician, Disasterpeace (The man who scored the near-zen inspiring, brain bending and genius indie video game “FEZ” “(2012)) the music, much like the film, is a slow, steady burn that’s creepy as shit.
The film can be boiled down to a fairly simple premise. Jay, a teenage girl, (Maika Monroe) has sex with a new boyfriend only to discover he’s passed some gnarly shit along. He tells her that he’s literally being chased by an evil It-follows-poster-artspirit that will kill him if it catches up to him. The only way to pass it along is
by having sex. Now she’s being chased (fucking dick move, right?). Oh, another wrinkle is that this spirit, ghost, specter, whatever can manifest itself as anyone, including your nearest and dearest. She recruits some friends to help out, including lovelorn Paul (played by the fantastic and one to watch, Keir Gilchrist)
I fell for this movie with the first shot. A single shot follows a young woman out of her front door onto the street, she is terrified of something . Her family and a neighbor asks her if she needs help. “No”, “I’m fine, Dad”. She runs back into the house, comes back out with the car keys, jumps in the car and speeds off. One crafty, single, moving shot with the aforementioned minimal, creepy soundtrack. I’m fucking hooked. I’m not going to give much away. I will say that downtown Detroit is the perfect setting for a showdown with an evil spirit. You can shoot guns and create some havoc. Nobody is coming. Get your nightlights out. This shit is fucking scary. BOO! – LEE


Associated Recommendations:
I would usually recommend films featuring the key filmmakers and actors in a film. For this month I believe it’s more appropriate to recommend Horror films that feature similar themes. In this case, the teen Horror film.
“Suicide Club” (2001).  Japanese teens start clubs in order to commit mass suicides. Could a J-Pop band be the culprit? Kind of a strange movie but not by Japanese standards.
“Attack The Block” (2011). British flick about aliens taking over a rough housing estate. The local teenage hoods protect their turf. More funny than scary, but really well made for a small budget.
“Fright Night” (2011). I really like this remake of the much loved 80’s Horror-Comedy. Much darker than the original. Vampire moves in next door to a crafty teenage guy. Stars Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell and Toni Collette.    
“The Faculty” (1998). Directed by Robert Rodriguez. Aliens bodysnatch the teachers and the students band together. Great cast, fun flick.
The “Final Destination” Series (2000-11). I love all 5 of these movies.  Teens avert a deadly disaster only to be hunted by death. Big, dumb, gory, fun movies. I remember hearing an interview with one of the writers who essentially admitted to writing all of the death scenes first, then cobbling together a plot around them.
“A Nightmare On Elm Street” (1984). You know the score with this series, but the first one is legitimately scary.  Who can forget the scene where Tina is dragged out her bed she’s in with her boyfriend? She’s dragged up the wall and onto the ceiling while being cut to ribbons by the invisible blades of Freddy. I watched this shit when I was 12 or so. So I can’t.
(Lee Ostler is a musician, avid fight fan, man-of-many-words, and huge fan of fine cinema.  We think it’s too cute that he has a Minor in Film Studies, and are tickled pink that he now gets a chance to shine.  So, each Thursday, he will start our minds rolling for the weekend with another gem of a film we can hunt down.  Some will be easier to find than others, but that’s part of the game.  Get the home theatre ready, pop the corn, and prepare to see some friggin’ awesome films)