UTG’s 31 Days Of Halloween: ‘It Follows’

it-follows

Of all the holidays celebrated worldwide, no single day is loved by the UTG staff more than Halloween. With October’s arrival, the time has finally come to begin rolling out a slew of features and special announcements we have prepared in celebration of our favorite day.

Now in its fourth year, 31 Days Of Halloween is a recurring feature that will run throughout the month of October. The goal of this column is to supply every UTG reader with a daily horror (or Halloween-themed) movie recommendation that is guaranteed to amplify your All Hallows’ Eve festivities. We’ll be watching every film the day it’s featured, and we hope you’ll follow along at home.

This year, the entire 31 Days series is dedicated to the memory of our friend, Justin Proper. We wouldn’t have a film department without him, and he specifically helped pioneer our involvement in the horror genre. Rest in peace, JP.

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Day 6: It Follows (2014)

If you have yet to engage in sexual relations at this point in your life you may want to think twice before diving into today’s 31 Days selection. If I were a young teen when this particular film was released it may have turned me off from the idea of sex until I was well into my twenties (though the universe almost saw to that itself – har har).

Set in the suburbs of a greying Detroit, David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows is a sexually-fueled parable about the unknown, or rather our collective fear of it. We follow a young woman named Jay who, following a random sexual encounter with a mysterious boy, awakes to find herself strapped to a chain in a dilapidated abandoned building. Her would-be lover is nearby, and once he calms her down he informs her there is something she must see. From now on, no matter where she goes or what she does, there will be something following her. Sometimes she will see it, but most of the time she won’t. Visibility doesn’t matter however, as it is always present. It is always on its way to her. Seeking her. And she would be wise to avoid its embrace.

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The metaphor of STDs is a scary one, and it works to sufficiently unsettle you from the very opening moments of It Follows. The very first thing you see is a scared young woman running, in a complete panic, up and down the street in front of her house. She is clearly terrified, but it’s unclear why. Before anyone can stop her to ask about her screams, we see the young woman jump into a car and tear into the distance. By the time this happens your heart is in your chest, and if you dare look down you’ll likely notice that your butt has inched toward the edge of your seat. It is there you will remain for the entire runtime of the film, and when the credits finally grant you a moment of peace you will soon realize the terror of what is unseen still resides deep in your soul. You know it’s only a movie, but something about it lingers in your mind.

Some of you may be reading this with the idea that your age will somehow prevent you from falling victim to the thrills and chills of It Follows. While I understand that the fear of STDs is one usually marketed to younger demographics there is something intangibly terrifying about this film that I guarantee is capable of making anyone at any age feel uneasy. Many movies have leveraged the fear of what is unseen in a way that connected with audiences, but there is something unique about David Robert Mitchell’s approach that makes the concept feel new once more.

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I spent months waiting for It Follows to arrive in my region, and when it did I was happy the film did not disappoint. That said, my simple enjoyment of the film is not the reason it was chosen for this series. I chose It Follows today because of how I felt six weeks after I saw it, and in some ways how I still feel to this day. Whenever I get a sense that something may not be right without the ability to pinpoint what feels wrong I immediately suspect my ‘It’ is somewhere nearby, closing in on my unsuspecting self. That probably sounds crazy, but it’s true, and if you give It Follows a chance, the same may happen to you. Give in. The constant uneasiness is worth it.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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