By Jerome Reuter
It’s been several months since the theatrical release of It Follows. However, there seems to a divide among horror fans, and critics alike regarding this one. Some have referred to it as overrated, while others have praised it highly. There seems to be very little middle ground, or at least that’s been my experience. I reviewed it awhile back; needless to say I loved it. It wasn’t a groundbreaking achievement, but I thought it was a very good effort. It certainly was a lot better than a lot of recent releases.
Which leads me to many of the naysayers. This film was hyped, as what was supposed to be one of the greatest horror films of the decade. Which is one of the problems so many people had. With so much critical praise, many were setting themselves up for something great. When it didn’t meet their expectations, many were quick to condemn. Rather than look at the films merits, they spent much time picking apart its flaws. Rather than praise it for its camera techniques and atmosphere. I feel many complained about the films third act. I’ll admit, even I had a few issues with it, but I found them easy to overlook.
To be completely fair, EVERY film is flawed in some way. There is no perfect story. Even the works of Welles, Kubrick, Bergman and Fellini have their plot holes. Case in point; no ones in the room when Charles Foster Kane utters ‘rosebud’ and yet, it serves as the main plot device for Citizen Kane.
So, why were so many quick to tear at this ones shortcoming? Well the answer is simple. The bar for what makes a good horror film continues to be raised. This one wasn’t shocking, it wasn’t gory, it was just well put together. Aside from that, it made you think. So, it might be safe to assume the people who didn’t like it, don’t like thinking too much while watching a horror film. As I’ve stated before, they key rule to effective storytelling, is “Feel it first, think about it second.” It Follows captured that, I feel a great mant people tend to over look that.
(Furthermore; In my opinion, many if these naysayers need to watch some Tarkovsky films, then watch this one again.)
This brings me back to my original question. Did this film live up to all the hype? Well I have to be honest, it didn’t. Even I was expecting something more, but that’s not to say it isn’t deserving of its praise. Even though it might not have lived up to the mountain of acclaim, it still deserves our respect. I don’t see this getting a Criterion release anytime soon, but it’s one worth watching.
Despite not living up the hype, it’s still a good horror film. It proves that art still has a place in modern horror, and that say a lot. Hype can make or break a film upon release, and I feel it hurt this ones reputation in some circles. For those of us who loved it, we can look past the hype machine. Those who can’t get over it, are better off with the next Paranormal Activity film.