It Fol­lows

Do you re­mem­ber the first time? You will…

SFX - - Cinema -

Re­lease Date: 27 Fe­bru­ary

15 | 100 min­utes Direc­tor: David Robert Mitchell Cast: Maika Mon­roe, Keir Gilchrist, Jake Weary, Daniel Zo­vatto, Linda Bos­ton, Heather Fair­banks, Ruby Har­ris

Most of us spend our teenage

years haunted by some­thing – con­stant em­bar­rass­ment, the crush­ing weight of ex­pec­ta­tion. Per­haps it’s be­cause, like ghosts, we’re trapped be­tween two worlds, the pris­on­ers of feel­ings we can’t quite es­cape or ex­press. Of­ten it’s the twin spec­tres of sex and death that hang the heav­i­est, and hor­ror films aren’t shy in mak­ing this con­nec­tion ex­plicit.

Spiked with a sense of what he terms “in­ter­ac­tive anx­i­ety”, David Robert Mitchell’s film knows the work of Wes Craven, John Car­pen­ter and Dario Ar­gento as surely as it knows what it’s like to be young and afraid. The first girl we meet flees hys­ter­i­cally from her home, screech­ing off in her car to the beach. Some­thing’s af­ter her, but it’s only when we get to know Jay ( The Guest’s Maika Mon­roe) and her Scooby gang of friends that the threat starts to take shape. Af­ter Jay has sex with her nervy boyfriend ( Jake Weary), he chlo­ro­forms her, ties her to a chair, and ex­plains that he’s passed on the epony­mous curse; that “It” will now fol­low her, in­stead of him. “It can look like any­one,” he warns. “Some­times I think it looks like the peo­ple you love just to hurt you…”

The en­su­ing scenes of su­per­nat­u­ral stalk­ing reach Ju- On lev­els of in­ten­sity, the cam­era pan­ning para­noidly through 360 de­grees as it watches, wait­ing, for some­thing to come and get Jay while she’s at school, at home, walk­ing the si­lent Had­don­field- like streets. Try as she might to shift it, the sense of un­speak­able, un­stop­pable men­ace is re­lent­less – al­most as re­lent­less as the pound­ing elec­tronic score, which pow­er­drills Sus­piria chords into the brain. Bar­ring a few Oedi­pal in­ter­ludes, grown- ups are nowhere to be found in this dreamy teen hin­ter­land, as if Mitchell has trans­planted the meta­phys­i­cal dis­quiet of MR James’s ghost sto­ries onto Stand By Me’s list­less, adult- free sum­mer.

The re­sult is one of the most orig­i­nal chillers of re­cent times, its cen­tral con­ceit a sub­tle, sup­ple metaphor for all kinds of teenage angst, sex­ual trauma and the shad­ows that latch onto us when we’re young, and never quite pass. Matt Glasby Mitchell was in­spired by a re­cur­ring child­hood night­mare con­cern­ing an in­escapable crea­ture.

The new photo direc­tor at Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret had some un­usual ideas.

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