This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn't exist.
When stalking your prey, is it best to run after them, or walk slowly? Slashers everywhere (aside from Scream) tell us that the approach taken by the tortoise is better, suggesting that those of us who read fables as children are possibly all going to grow up to be effective serial killers. Other lessons taken from serial killer films — “don't have sex” in particular — anchor themselves in societal images of what is moral and right. Never before has a killer been more akin to an omnipresent representation of judgement as in It Follows though, an entity that slowly pursues the latest person it has been passed to.
Very little is explained, we don't know whether the creature is a ghost, a demon, a curse, a monster… all we are told is that there is only one of them, and if it catches you it will kill you. The only way to get rid of it is to have sex with someone and pass it on.
It's a simple premise really, and arguably done before with video tapes in Japan, and William Shatner masks in suburbia. But there's an inherent originality to the way the story is presented here that helps it to stand alongside the films it apes. A lack of explanation that burdens other similar films with exposition allows It Follows to focus solely on feelings of anxiety and the fear of becoming prey.
Director David Robert Mitchell refuses to anchor It Follows in any particular time period. There is a dreamlike quality to the mix of futuristic technology amongst old TVs with manual dials and three channels. The surrealism is emphasised further with shots of unremarkable things from a birds eye view, encouraging the viewer to zone out and stare at these details in the way our lead character does.
This should not suggest that It Follows suffers from slow pacing or a lack of scares, it's arguably one of the scariest films of the 21st Century. Wide landscape shots have us constantly searching the negative space in the background in the same way scream queen Maika Monroe does. Have we seen it before her or has she seen it before us? The anxiety created by both scenarios is solid enough to chew on. Moments of gore, though irregular, are genuinely unpleasant. It's possibly the closest cinematic equivalent to how it feels to walk through a dark house and have someone appear that you weren't expecting. Imagine feeling like that for 100 minutes and it gives you some idea.
The bonus features are an excellent mix of interviews and commentaries, and a very welcome video essay from Joseph Wallace. Once again Second Sight sadly neglects to include subtitles on these, but that doesn't take away from the quality. This is likely to be one of their most popular releases, and for good reason.
- Dual format edition including both UHD and Blu-ray with main feature and bonus features on both discs
- Second Sight Films 4K master produced in conjunction with the original post production facility
- Approved by Director David Robert Mitchell
- UHD presented in Dolby Vision HDR
- New Dolby Atmos audio track produced by Second Sight Films
- New audio commentary by Joshua Grimm
- Audio commentary by Danny Leigh and Mark Jancovich
- Chasing Ghosts: a new interview with Actor Keir Gilchrist
- Following: a new interview with Actor Olivia Luccardi
- It's in the House: an interview with Producer David Kaplan
- Composing a Masterpiece: an interview with Composer Rich Vreeland
- A Girl's World: an interview with Production Designer Michael Perry
- It Follows – The Architecture of Loneliness: a video essay by Joseph Wallace
Limited Edition Contents
- Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Thinh Dinh
- 150 page hardback book with new essays by Anne Billson, Martyn Conterio, Kat Ellinger, Eugenio Ercolani, Matt Glasby, Kat Hughes, Jennie Kermode and Katie Rife
- 6 collectors' art cards
It Follows is released on Limited edition 4k and Blu-ray from Second Sight on September 11th