It Follows sidesteps B-movie status with superb visuals, but fails to earn its rating of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.
All those pretty visuals serve to distract from the films loose plot. There’s no arch and the teenagers just meander in and out of scenes. It feels like the director tried to merge the tone of modern coming of age movies—a la boyhood—with modern horror—especially japan horror.
I say that because there’s a mythos to this monster: you contract it like an STD and pass it off to someone else rather than deal with it. American slashers these days aren’t so focused on the mythos of the monster. Whether it wears a hockey mask, has a melted face, or a hissing mouth; we accept that it’s death incarnate—it’s coming to get you Barbara! So, what is it? I don’t know.
And I doubt the director knows either. The monster gets confused with too many variations that it can’t be tacked to one particular abstract; one minute its shame, the next it’s fear—At least I assume it’s fear.
Even when it comes to killing the thing, the kids never research it over google or take a trip to the library to dust off an old book. They just decide to lure the thing to a city pool and kill it electricity for no reason; it’s never established that electricity is this things weakness.
The 80’s synth calls to mind the coming of age horror flick It, where a group of kids use their wits and teamwork to kill Tim Creepy-Clown Curry.
But when you cut out a bunch of despondent Millennials in high tops and paste them into that style of film, it’s divorced of all brilliance. There’s no light in their eyes. None of them treat the monster with any real gravity, even after it starts killing their friends with that invisible touch. The climax is all of them taking it lying down. Dark and brooding doesn’t have to be divorced of panic or excitement—watch the Collector.
And in the end, there’s never a feeling that they’ve overcome the monster. Hell, even Corey Feldman killed the hockey-masked abstract of death for a film. But nothing is overcome because they’re all rather convinced from reading T. S. Elliot that “it” can’t be overcome. Maybe that’s the point, that these kids are all J.A. Prufrocks, too frozen by fear to ever put up a fight. There’s not a Goonie amongst them.