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It Follows

Posted on September 4, 2017

The New Final Girl: More Sex, More Persecution

Guest Post

The slasher flick is absorbed in the heroine’s experience of incessant trauma. But unlike the genre’s other characters, she is the one who does not die: she is the “Final Girl.” A victim-hero, she is resourceful and intelligent and ultimately vanquishes the masked murderer.[i] A slew of recent horror films like The Final Girls (Todd Strauss-Schulson, 2015) and It Follows (David Robert Mitchell) have taken up the archetype seemingly in celebration of the female-empowering figure. After all, horror is one of the few genres that enables its female protagonists to “kick ass.”

And on the surface, It Follows, a 2014 Cannes Film favorite, seems like just another in a long line of likeminded slashers. The film centers on 19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe), a college student from the Detroit suburbs. After having sex with the outwardly charming Hugh (Jake Weary), Jay is drugged, bound to a wheelchair, and is told she now carries a sexually transmitted curse. An amorphous monster—it—will follow her everywhere she roams, and although no one else can see it, for Jay, it could appear like anyone. It is painstakingly slow but inescapable. Temporary respite occurs only by passing it on through sex with somebody else. In a way, the plot feels like an urban legend of sorts, and the formula obeys many of the same rules touted by Randy (Jamie Kennedy) in Scream (Wes Craven, 1996): “There are certain RULES that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie. For instance, number one: you can never have sex.”

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Posted on April 16, 2015

It Follows (2014) Film Review

Dawn Keetley

David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows (2014) is destined to be a classic horror film. It’s mesmerizing, chilling, and deeply unsettling. It’s indebted to the horror tradition, yet utterly distinct. On the surface, it’s about the classic equation of horror: sex = death. But underneath, it’s just about death—not violent, bloody, shocking death but death’s slow inexorability.

In its central plot device, It Follows draws from the slasher tradition: you have sex, you die, not at the hands of a knife-wielding monster but in the form of something that acts like a virus. Some “thing” as Hugh (Jake Weary) tells the protagonist, Jay (brilliantly played by Maika Monroe), after he’s passed it on to her, will now follow you: it won’t run; it’ll only walk, but it won’t stop and if it touches you, you’re dead. We see the influence of Gore Verbinski’s The Ring (2002) here. For now Jay has something of an ethical dilemma: does she pass on the fatal “thing”? To whom?
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