I’ve been missing screenings of David Robert Mitchell‘s It Follows (Radius/TWC, 3.15) for nearly ten months now. It played at last year’s Cannes, Karlovy Vary and Toronto festivals (among many others) and also at Sundance ’15, and has generated nothing but primo buzz. The 98% Rotten Tomatoes rating speaks for itself. A few days ago Boston Herald critic James Verniere advised me to “check this out if you haven’t yet…early Cronenberg vibe.” I intend to, but the truth is that I’ve been ducking It Follows because of an impression that it’s yet another perils-of-promiscuity flick about a hot girl being stalked by something ghastly — a cliche that stretches back to John Carpenter‘s Halloween (’78).
On top of which is Mitchell’s somewhat tiresome narration of the above N.Y. Times video essay. The opening shot, he explains, starts with “a slow, calm, objective shot of this sort-of middle-class neighborhood”…sort of? The Shadow of a Doubt-like, tree-lined, middle-class atmosphere is a right-down-the-middle cliche that’s also right out of the Halloween and Scream films and dozens of others in this vein.
Mitchell also acknowledges that Maika Monroe‘s wearing of high heels in the above scene “makes no sense” and is “a play on the conventions of horror…even back to women-in-peril DePalma movies.” This is why I’ve been avoiding it, I think. The territory feels overworked, over-referenced. But I’ll be seeing it tomorrow, Thursday or Friday.