The world’s slowest chase film
Release Date: 29 June
2014 | 15 | Blu- ray/ DVD/ download/ video on demand Director: David Robert Mitchell Cast: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe
Mitchell’s first crack at genre cinema provides a thrilling reminder that all you really need to create a low- budget horror classic is a good idea with an appealing simplicity and purity.
After Jay ( Maika Monroe) has sex with a date, he chloroforms her, ties her to a chair, then apologetically drops a bombshell. From now on, he explains, Jay will be relentlessly followed by a mysterious entity which can take on any human form. Furthermore, “It” is completely invisible to anyone but its quarry.
It’s not even a particularly original idea. Setting aside the screwing, there’s a touch of 1957’ s Night Of The Demon – and its J- horror offspring – about the high concept. The pace of the pursuit recalls the inescapable implacability of Jason Voorhees or George Romero’s zombies. And fans of Halloween will experience deja vu during scenes where Jay strolls leafy suburban streets, or spies a sinister presence through a high school window.
Yet somehow Mitchell makes all these faintly familiar elements feel completely fresh. It’s a nail- biting experience – almost exhaustingly so, as you constantly feel compelled to scan the background of shot. Is that bloke wandering into frame just a passer- by, or is he… It? Never have extras had such an important role in a movie’s success.
An obvious metaphorical reading presents itself: by losing her virginity, Jay enters the realm of adulthood, which brings with it an awareness that every moment you’re alive you’re being stalked by Death. But really, you could project whatever you want onto It. It’s a perfect example of what Freud called Das Unheimliche – the Uncanny.
The only fly in the ointment is one common to movies that hinge on a curse: how do you bring the story to a satisfying conclusion? It’s a problem the director doesn’t manage to solve, but that doesn’t prevent this film being a triumph. Wherever David Robert Mitchell’s career takes him next, you’ll want to follow. Extras: Film 2015’ s Danny Leigh and academic Mark Jancovich provide a “what the film is doing ” commentary track. An interview with the composer ( five minutes), a gallery and the trailer complete an underwhelming selection. Ian Berriman Composer Richard Vreeland also provides the voice heard over a Tannoy in one scene.