Blu-ray Review: It Follows

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As much as I genuinely wanted to love the critically-adored indie horror hit It Follows, this is one glass of Kool-Aid I just can’t swallow. So head over heels was seemingly everyone who saw it, I decided to give it a second chance on Anchor Bay’s recently issued Blu-ray. Don’t get me wrong, there’s an awful lot to like about It Follows, which makes it easy to recommend. I just can’t fathom the near-universal praise considering how badly writer-director David Robert Mitchell falters in the third act. The rundown Detroit suburb is well exploited for a suitably disaffected, depressed milieu. And starlet Maika Monroe delivers a breakout performance (she was also the best thing about the similarly overrated horror thriller The Guest).

But Mitchell sets up a watery set of rules that he can’t follow as the movie bulldozes into a logic-defying third act climax. The vague AIDS allegory is a bit heavy for a teen horror movie, but it’s definitely present as Jay (Monroe) is drugged unconscious after having sex with her new boyfriend Hugh (Jake Weary). It’s an intensely disoriented opening, for both Jay and we viewers. When she comes to, Jay finds herself strapped to a wheelchair in the middle of a parking garage. An apparently deranged nude woman is steadily approaching. Hugh quickly sets up for Jay (and us) the basic premise of It Follows: there is a spectral form (which can assume the appearance of any human; the would-be victim may or may not recognize it) pursing those who have had sex in a particular chain of people. In order to get the murderous spirit off one’s tail, you must have sex with another person, in effect passing on the curse. Sex equals eminent death.

it follows3 (380x161).jpgSo now Jay is on the awkward mission of finding some hapless guy for a quick lay in order to shake the demon from her trail. Given her comely appearance, it’s absolutely no surprise that Jay has guys lining up after she explains the far-fetched curse. But unexplainable events soon begin to convince her group of friends that there must be some truth to it. When the ominous, sometimes highly inconspicuous spirit is in slow, steady pursuit of Jay, It Follows carries an atmosphere of pure dread. But when Mitchell switches gears and abruptly turns the spirit into, basically, an invisible man that literally anyone can interact with, the whole thing crumbles into silly histrionics.

Luckily Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray looks and sounds fantastic on Blu-ray. The pervasive John Carpenter influence that Mitchell wears on his sleeve throughout It Follows is evident in Mike Gioulakis’ so-ordinary-it’s-creep cinematography. It’s a perfect 1080p presentation. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix works like a charm too, with Disasterpeace’s evocative, also Carpenter-esque score featured prominently.

Special features are a bit light, led by a critics’ commentary that runs for the entire feature. Some great points are made about the relative quality of the film, particularly by Scott Weinberg. Their defense didn’t change my mind about how far off the tracks It Follows strays, but it was interesting nonetheless. There’s a five-minute interview about the music with composer Disasterpeace. All that leaves is a gallery of poster images. The Blu-ray package includes a Digital HD download of the film.

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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is music and film. As “The Other Chad,” he has written for the online magazine Blogcritics since 2008. When he’s not writing, Chaz can be found trolling jazz clubs, attempting to find somewhere to play his sax (whether anyone wants to hear…

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