Bar none, this is the best horror film I've seen in 10 years. This is a film that will get inside you and it won't let go, however if you are looking for gore, look elsewhere.
This review will contain some heavy spoilers.
Right from the opening scene, I was drawn in. There is an obvious 80's theme to this but we know it's modern times because one of the characters has what looks to be a data device.
This review will be spoiler heavy so if you don't want to know the nuts and bolts, skip over it.
The plot is a simple one. There is some kind of malevolent force that follows you around. The way you contract and eliminate this threat is by having sex. Somehow by having unprotected sex, you get it, and then, as the title says it follows you around. Only you can see this thing though. So every person who might look a little strange to you could be the force that is out to get you. And it creates paranoia because you don't know what's real and what isn't. This is an incredibly effective plot device in the film. As it is explained to J, after she gets it from her new boyfriend, this force can be anyone. It walks slow so you can buy yourself time by outrunning it or driving away but like the Terminator, it will not stop ever until you are dead.
The first 15 minutes has J having sex with her boyfriend, it's a nice experience that they share, and then as she is leaning over the backseat rambling on about whatever it is you ramble on about after sex, her boyfriend comes up behind her and puts a cloth with chloroform on it, around her mouth. She wakes up tied to a chair and he tells her what it is that's coming after her. He apologizes to her and explains that all she has to do is have sex with someone else and she's rid of it. But, if the thing that follows her manages to kill the person she passed it on to, then it will start after her again. So no one is safe, ever.
The cast are not really well known but J, as played by Maika Monroe, has been in some films but she's just not a name. That's going to change after this film. Not only is she strikingly beautiful, she absolutely nails the character. She's unabashedly terrified all throughout the film and when she's scared, you are scared for her. The rest of the cast is very good as well and there's a nice love triangle as one of her long time friends has loved her probably since they were kids, but he's not quite her type and this creates a lot of tension. He's willing to sleep with her and take the malevolent from her, that's how much he feels for her.
The look of the film is second to none as this was filmed entirely in Michigan and much of it in Detroit, where you see the poverty, the run down buildings, the old houses, the beat up 30 year old cars. The look of the film is basically a secondary character. It adds to the palette and creates tension. There's something more sinister about seeing an old 70's TV with rabbit ears and all the off, vomit inducing colours from the 80's carpet and wallpaper and such.
And then there's the soundtrack. I think the composer paid homage to about 8-10 horror themes. While not ripping them off, you can easily hear, Manfredini, Bernstein, Carpenter, Hermann and even some very obvious nods to something like Knowing where the soundtrack was overbearing but effective. I am simply in love with the music that was used here.
When you combine all of this together, you get one of the best horror films I've ever seen. Horror has had some good entries in the last decade imo but nothing can top this. It's frightening, tense, creates a lot of panic and leaves you guessing in almost every scene. Writer and director David Robert Mitchell has created one of the most terrifying and original horror films. I won't rank it right now because it's still so fresh but I am simply in love with this film. I honestly wanted to go right back into the theater to see it again.
It's also unapologetically rated R. There's lots of nudity, it's terrifying and if you were to bring kids to this, I think it would seriously have a chance to mess with their minds. IMO, horror was truly born in the 70's. I'm aware of Hitchcock's contribution to the genre, but the horror that I love was from the 70/80's. This is almost a love letter to the films of those decades. But in some ways, it does it better. It Follows might end up being the best film of the year.
As for the ending that some complain about. It's the perfect way to end the film. There is no other way to end it. This thing cannot be stopped. It just can't. So to have it look like a somewhat happy ending was cool.....until you see that no matter what they do, they will never get rid of it. The ending was terrific.
Every time I finish the review I just feel like going back and adding more. I can't say enough about it. This is about as original as it gets and that is a rare thing in today's cinema.
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