Do you remember the first time? You will…
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.
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