Fol­low­ing a chill­ing tra­di­tion

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Film Theatre -

CRITIC’S CHOICE It Fol­lows 15 cert, 94 mins Ten­der, in­ge­nious and scalp­prick­lingly scary, It Fol­lows be­gins with a teenage girl in the sub­urbs flee­ing in panic from her front door. She’s be­ing chased by some­thing we can’t see. In fact, no one can see it, ex­cept for her and oth­ers like her – the vic­tims of a sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted hex that’s sent a shape-shift­ing suc­cubus im­pla­ca­bly into their lives. The premise, writ­ten thus, sounds hokey. It’s not at all. David Robert Mitchell’s film is a bril­liantly fresh spin on a clas­sic model – the pass-on-the-curse con­ceit, which hor­ror fans will know from MR James’s short story Cast­ing the Runes and its cin­e­matic off­spring, from Jac­ques Tourneur’s Night of the De­mon (1957) to the Ja­panese cult hit Ringu (2000) and its Amer­i­can re­make, The Ring (2002). This film is smart, sub­tex­tu­ally fas­ci­nat­ing and more or less a con­tem­po­rary hor­ror fan’s dream come true. It’s a blind date to make your blood run cold. Tim Robey ALSO IN CINE­MAS Fo­cus 15 cert, 105 mins þþ Will Smith plays Nicky Spur­geon, an all-Amer­i­can grifter, who meets Jess (Mar­got Rob­bie), a knock­out blonde, in a New York ho­tel bar. Jess and her male part­ner are work­ing a honey­trap scam. But Nicky, who’s seen her in ac­tion be­fore, knows she’s ca­pa­ble of bet­ter. So he re­cruits her, but with the sug­ges­tion that a more in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship may be in the off­ing. What mo­men­tum does build up dis­si­pates com­pletely when the film snaps for­ward three years to a new and largely un­re­lated story set in Buenos Aires. The prob­lem with Fo­cus is that it never re­ally does – and in its fuzzy-edged at­tempts to pull off the long con, the film ends up pick­ing its own pocket. Rob­bie Collin The Sec­ond Best Ex­otic Marigold Ho­tel PG cert, 122 mins þþþ This se­quel to 2012’s hit com­edy about a flock of English pen­sion­ers who mi­grate to Ra­jasthan is a no­tice­able im­prove­ment on its pre­de­ces­sor. Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Celia Im­rie, Bill Nighy etc start by play­ing to their party-trick strengths. But once John Mad­den’s film has worked through all the cul­ture-clash clichés, it finds some­thing pro­found and bit­ter­sweet in this ec­cen­tric bunch’s de­ci­sion to see life out in a place so seething with it. RC The Boy Next Door 15 cert, 90 mins þþ This glo­ri­ously tatty psy­chothriller prob­a­bly wasn’t quite pitched as Notes on a Scan­dal meets Fa­tal At­trac­tion star­ring Jen­nifer Lopez, but that’s what it is. Try­ing hard to give a real per­for­mance and thwarted at ev­ery turn, Lopez plays Claire, a woman wronged – partly by her phi­lan­der­ing hus­band (John Cor­bett), mainly by the script. She’s a lit­er­a­ture teacher who spe­cialises in “the clas­sics”. There are many quick ways to Claire’s af­fec­tions. One is to be hot, mus­cled and 19, like Noah (Ryan Guz­man), who has moved in to the ad­ja­cent manse. There’s re­ally a lot to be said for this film as a game, if atro­cious, primer in an­cient Greek myth. The film goes for broke with such a ca­reer­ing lack of in­hi­bi­tion, it def­i­nitely ends up in the fun zone. TR

Mod­ern hor­ror clas­sic: Maika Mon­roe stars in David Robert Mitchell’s ter­ri­fy­ing new film ‘It Fol­lows’

Se­nior se­quel: stars from ‘The Sec­ond Best Ex­otic Marigold Ho­tel’

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